Skip to main content

Merritt leads by 4 after record-tying 61

Getty Images

Winds were down Friday at Harbour Town, and the conditions allowed for a bevy of low scores. Here's how things look at the halfway point of the RBC Heritage, where Troy Merritt holds a four-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Troy Merritt (-12), Matt Kuchar (-8), John Merrick (-8), Jim Furyk (-7), Graeme McDowell (-7), Kevin Kisner (-7), Jordan Spieth (-6), Louis Oosthuizen (-6), Matt Every (-6)

What it means: McDowell and Every shared the overnight lead, but they were quickly overtaken by Kuchar, the defending champ who carded a 66 in the second round. His lead lasted only a few hours, though, as Merritt birdied six of his last seven holes to tie the course record as he looks to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Round of the day: Merritt started slowly but birdied nine of his final 12 holes, carding a 10-under 61 that included a back-nine 28. The score was Merritt's lowest ever on Tour by three shots and tied a Harbour Town record that was previously set by David Frost in 1994. Merritt birdied each of his last four holes to put himself in position for a career-best finish despite entering the week with only one top-25 finish this season.

Best of the rest: Spieth appeared headed for an early exit after a 74 in the opening round, but the Masters champ played his way back into contention with a 9-under 62. The score tied Spieth's lowest as a professional and was highlighted by a chip-in birdie on No. 8, his 17th hole of the day. After making only one birdie in the opening round, Spieth's second-round scorecard was bogey-free and included nine circles.

Biggest disappointment: Zach Johnson was coming off a strong showing at the Masters and seems ideally suited for the tight layout at Harbour Town, but Johnson missed the cut after rounds of 73 and 75. He made only one birdie in the second round and only three for the week, and his chances for a third-round tee time ended when he went double bogey-bogey on Nos. 15 and 16.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Merritt has a sizeable cushion, but the group of players following him have plenty of experience at this event: Kuchar, McDowell and Furyk have all donned the tartan jacket since 2010. Then there's Spieth, who appears to have shaken off his post-Masters hangover and remains in the mix for what could be his fifth straight top-two finish.

Shot of the day: Needing a birdie at the last to make the cut, Tom Watson stuffed his approach to 4 feet on No. 18. He made the putt to cap a 1-under 70 and at even par, he'll play the weekend.

Quote of the day: "I found something in my ball position on the range, and it made a world of difference." - Spieth