Safe at 17


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Troy Merritt didn’t have his best day, turning what probably should have been an eighty-something into a 76 thanks to a scorching putter, but he did continue to tread water on TPC Sawgrass’ feared 17th hole.

Merritt birdied the island hole on Saturday, rolling in a 9 footer, and is 1 under par for the week at the par 3. More importantly he is dry for his first three turns on the hole.

“Two pars and a birdie,” Merritt smiled. “Three tries and I haven’t hit one in the water yet. On Sunday if I make it when I’m done I’m going to pay tribute and a toss (a golf ball) in.”

Merritt, a PGA Tour rookie, also had an up close view of Phil Mickelson’s Saturday round, a card that seven birdies and a bogey. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “To watch him go out and play like that was an absolute humbling experience.”