Merritt matches course record at Harbour Town|
Hilton Head Island, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Troy Merritt fired a 10-under 61
on Friday to match the course record and soar into the lead at the Heritage.
Merritt, who is looking for his first PGA Tour victory, finished 36 holes at
12-under-par 130. He missed the tournament's 36-hole scoring record by one
Defending champion Matt Kuchar carded a 66 to move into a share of second
place. He was joined at 8-under 134 by John Merrick (65).
Jim Furyk, the 2010 winner, posted a 7-under 64 at Harbour Town Golf Links to
jump into a tie for fourth at minus-7. He stands alongside Kevin Kisner (67)
and 2013 winner Graeme McDowell (69).
Masters champion Jordan Spieth fired a 9-under 62 and soared into a share of
seventh place at 6-under-par 136. Louis Oosthuizen (67), Kevin Streelman (65),
Matt Every (70) and Morgan Hoffmann (68) joined Spieth at minus-6.
"I found something in my ball position on the range, and it made a world of
difference. One more nights sleep and just feeling like I had a little
something to think about on the course, and that helped me zero in on targets
a little better and get into a rhythm," Spieth stated. "I don't want to go
home early, and I knew I had to shoot at least 2-under. I got a couple good
breaks today, but all in all I played well."
Two-time winner Tom Watson birdied the 18th hole for a 1-under 70, which
helped him make the cut on the number at even-par 142. That was his 501st made
cut in 617 career PGA Tour starts.
Merritt got off to a relatively slow start with one birdie and five pars in
his first six holes. He stuffed his tee shot at the par-3 seventh within two
feet and kicked that in for birdie.
After a par at the eighth, Merritt rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at nine to
make the turn at 5-under. He made it two in a row with another gain on the
Merritt birdied the 12th and 13th from 11 and 13 feet out, respectively. He
caught fire after making par on No. 14. Merritt rolled in an 18-foot birdie
try on the par-5 15th to grab the lead at minus-9.
The 29-year-old birdied the final three holes, all from inside seven feet, to
match David Frost's course record.
"I've got a superstition that when I make a birdie I don't take a ball out of
a round, and I put the last ball into play on 12 and it got beat up the last
seven holes, but I played it all the way in and made six birdies with it,"
said Merritt. "It was a lot of fun. It was fun to hit quality golf shots and
roll the putts in."
Kuchar, who played alongside Spieth, had two birdies and seven pars on his
opening nine. On his second nine, Kuchar dropped in back-to-back birdies from
the first, and again from the fifth. Kuchar missed the green at the par-3
seventh and that led to a bogey, which dropped him back to minus-8. He parred
the last two holes to end there.
Merrick birdied the 10th and 11th to get his round going. After a bogey on No.
12, he drained a 19-footer for birdie at the 15th. Merrick parred the next
three before converting birdie chances at the first three holes around the
That burst moved Merrick to 7-under and he remained there as he parred five in
a row from the fourth. Merrick converted a 14-footer for birdie on the ninth
to join Kuchar in second place.
NOTES: Merritt is trying to join a group of 10 other players that made this
event their first PGA Tour win ... The only other time he led after any round
on the PGA Tour was after the first round of the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii ...
With little wind through the day, Friday's scoring average at 69.641 was the
second-lowest in event history ... The cut line fell at even-par 142 with 76
players making it to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were
Kenny Perry, Graham DeLaet, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and Ernie Els.
04/17 19:00:27 ET