Wednesday 28 September 2016

Spieth shines as Merritt goes top

Published 17/04/2015 | 23:56

Masters champion Jordan Spieth roared back into contention at the RBC Heritage following a second-round 62
Masters champion Jordan Spieth roared back into contention at the RBC Heritage following a second-round 62

Masters champion Jordan Spieth roared back into contention at the RBC Heritage with a second-round 62 on Friday.

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However, he and his fellow competitors were no match for Troy Merritt, who fired a 10-under 61 to equal the course record at Harbour Town Golf Links and open up a four-shot lead at the top of the standings .

The 21-year-old Spieth bounced back from his opening 74 with a nine-under-par round of 62 to sit six under in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

That looked to have put him firmly in contention, with playing partner and defending champion Matt Kuchar holding the clubhouse lead at the time on eight under.

Yet Merritt took everyone by surprise with a storming run which saw him pick up seven shots on the back nine and shoot to the top of the leaderboard on 12 under overall.

The 29-year-old American, who finished a flawless round with four successive birdies, admitted everything simply fell into place for him.

"It was a lot of fun," he told the PGA Tour website. "I had the college mentality of 'just try to make one more (birdie), just try to make one more and see what happens'. And I was just fortunate to close with four in a row.

"I haven't played poorly all year, it's just the tempo issue with me. If I don't have it right away, it's tough to find it and then I'm scrabbling all day and trying to shoot one or two under. Today I wasn't worrying about that."

Kuchar is tied for second place with John Merrick, having followed his first-round 68 with a 66.

Merrick fired a round of 65 on Friday, mixing seven birdies with a single bogey on the par-four 12th.

The pair are one shot ahead of a group of three players which includes Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who carded a 69 to go with his 66 from day one.

Spieth, meanwhile, sank nine birdies to revive memories of his Masters heroics, when he led after every round to win by four shots.

And the Texan was relieved to see an improvement in his game from Thursday's disappointment.

He said: "I found something in my ball position on the range this morning, and it made a significant difference in my ball-striking and in my putting.

"I told (caddie) Michael (Greller) when the day started, 'hey, let's try to get three (strokes) a side'. Let's try to shoot six under today. And once we got a couple extra to go, it was off and running and don't worry about your score; just keep on trying to make birdies."

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