Barnes, who took the oath of abstinence a year ago after a long battle with the bottle, admitted that the kick of shooting 64 beat the buzz obtained from the contents of a pint mug. The powerful Scot, who leads with a 12-under-par total of 204 after three rounds, said: 'This sort of scoring makes me more determined than ever never to pick up a glass again.'
Barnes, whose closest challenger is Juan Quiros, the Spaniard, who came home with a 67, had a total of nine birdies and one bogey in a round that was one stroke outside the course record set by Jose Maria Olazabal two years ago.
'It's been a long time since I enjoyed myself so much,' said Barnes. 'Life used to be an effort, but now it's fun. Last year, if I'd been in the same position after 10 or 11 holes, I'd have been worried sick.'
Quiros, like Barnes, received an invitation to play and he made up five strokes on a day when several players moved into contention.
David Gilford and his playing partner Ignacio Garrido both scored 66 to stand on 208. Also on 208 was Manchester's Andrew Murray, who went out in 33 but was totally overshadowed by his partner, Barnes, who had a putt on the ninth for 29, but had to settle for 30. Olazabal three-putted the last but is not out of the running at five under par.