Troy Merritt. Ever heard of him? Not many people have but he defied the odds this week and took on and defeated an elite field to win his maiden PGA Tour event with ease.
After missing five cuts in a row, Merritt was an outsider (to be generous) and never looked like contending after the first two rounds with an opening round of 70 and a second round of 68 put him on four under-par and out of the running. After tweaking his hand position on the club at address, the results soon started to show. A course record 61 on Saturday saw him smash his way through the field and put himself at the top of the leaderboard.
Merritt always looked in control on the final day as he knocked in birdie putts at five and seven pushing himself further away from the field. The only man who made any move early on was Merritt’s American counterpart Bill Haas. Haas rolled in his sixth birdie of the day at the drivable par 4 tenth, but soon began to stumble as he finished his last eight holes with four bogey’s and a double to put him well off the pace.
Rickie Fowler tried to keep up with Merritt by rolling in a birdie putt on the last to set the clubhouse lead at 15 under, but the young American held a two shot lead going down the last and savoured every bit of his standing ovation as he walked on to the final green. A lagged putt would have sufficed, but Merritt had to go one step further and rattle in his birdie putt for a three shot lead and his maiden PGA Tour win.
Merritt’s win means it is the 10th first time winner on the PGA Tour this year, which could indicate the coming of a new era of golf as the next generation begin to make their mark.