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Merritt (61) could get used to playing Saturdays

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GAINESVILLE, Va. – Just once since The Players in May has Tory Merritt made it past the second round, a run of six missed cuts in seven starts.

It turns out all the 29 year old needed was that extra day to find some momentum.

“Apparently playing on Saturday is a good thing. Might want to try it more often,” Merritt tweeted on Saturday following a tournament-record 61 at the Quicken Loans National.

Merritt, who began this week mired at 143rd on the FedEx Cup points list, birdied his first five holes and five of his last seven to scorch Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and move from a tie for 35th place into the early lead at 14 under par.

The difference on Saturday was his putting, with Merritt needing just 24 putts on Day 3 and converting 14 of 15 attempts from inside 10 feet.

“The biggest difference was the first two days I missed 11 putts inside of 12 feet,” said Merritt, who matched his career low round which he first set earlier this season at the RBC Heritage. “I found a little bit of something on the putting green. Squared my shoulders up just slightly. As a result, I was picking the ball up out of the hole versus tapping it in.”

Merritt said the best shot of the day was his approach from a fairway bunker at the 17th hole from a downhill lie.

“I turned it over just slightly, made great contact and it got right in there to 12 feet and I was able to capitalize on it,” he said.