Barr is a 14-year veteran of the Tour and with just one event remaining after this week’s European Tour co-sanctioned tournament he holds down the 60th and final card on the Order of Merit.
A 6-under 66 overnight sees Barr two shots off the lead and sharing eighth place on a packed leaderboard at the Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.
Barr’s score came on the Bushwillow course, the easier of the two in play for the tournament.
Only six of the top 17 scores were returned at the Firethorn course where Barr will play his second round today.
One of five Australians in the field, Barr is two ahead of next best Terry Pilkadaris who will be satisfied with his 4-under effort at the Firethorn layout.
Jake Higginbottom also played the more difficult Firethorn course for his 2-under while Marcus Both is also 2-under after firing 69 at the Bushwillow course.
Jack Munro is the last of the Australians in the field and signed for a 1-under 70 at the Bushwillow course to be in a share of 85th.
Both Barr and Higginbottom will be particularly keen for good finishes this week with playing rights for the 2018 Asian Tour to be decided over the next fortnight.
The top 60 on the Order of Merit after next week’s Indonesian Masters are assured of privileges for next year and Barr at 60th and Higginbottom at 54th are in the danger zone.
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