HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina, April 17 AP – Little-known Troy Merritt one-upped Masters champion Jordan Spieth in the second round of the RBC Heritage.
Merritt shot a 10-under 61 on Friday to tie the course record at Harbour Town Golf Links only a few hours after Spieth wowed the gallery with a bounce-back 62 to match his lowest PGA Tour round.
The 29-year-old Merritt tied David Frost’s tournament mark set in 1994 and topped the leaderboard at 12-under 130, a stroke off the 36-hole event record shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.
Merritt, who opened with a 69 on Thursday, saw Spieth’s score in the morning and knew the opportunity was there to go low.
“Anytime that you match shot for shot with the Masters champ, with the way he’s playing, it’s a pretty good feeling,” said Merritt, whose career best in four seasons on the PGA Tour is a tie for second last year at the St Jude Classic.
Spieth looked like the headliner on Friday, following a 74 on Thursday with the 62 – which tied his career low set at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2013.
The 21-year-old Texan has been on a major role the past month, winning the Valspar Championship and finishing second in San Antonio and Houston before capturing his first major title at Augusta National last week.
Spieth birdied his final two holes at Harbour Town, electrifying the crowds already there to cheer him, to shoot the lowest tournament round in 10 years – until Merritt did him one better.
Merritt had nine birdies over his final 10 holes to surge on top and send Spieth six shots behind at six-under-par in a tie for seventh.
American Merritt ended his round with four straight birdies, including a five-footer on the signature lighthouse hole, No.18, to tie the course record.
Merritt was four shots ahead of Matt Kuchar and John Merrick while Aaron Baddeley fired a round of four under to be five under for the tournament and the best-placed Australian in a tie for 12th.
Past RBC Heritage winners and US Open champions Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk were seven under along with Kevin Kisner.