RENO, Nev. (AP) — Troy Merritt scored five points with a 53-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th on Saturday to take a two-point lead in the Barracuda Championship, the PGA Tour’s only modified Stableford scoring event.
Merritt had an 18-point round for a 37-point total at Montreaux Golf and Country Club. The scoring system awards eight points for albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie and zero for par, and subtracts a point for bogey and three for double bogey or worse.
A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Merritt also eagled the par-5 second hole with a 20-footer.
“We were kind of not so pleased with the par-5 scoring the first two rounds,” Merritt said. “I think we sat at, I think, two points and you just can’t do it out here. We took care of them today.”
He also made a 21-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th.
“The golf wasn’t overly spectacular the last couple of weeks, but the putter was ice cold,” Merritt said. “The swing’s been a little better this week. I still missed some shots. But we really putted well this week. Read the green well and the speeds have been really good.”
Robert Streb, the leader Saturday morning after the completion of the storm-delayed second round, was two points back after a 32-hole day. He had 10 points in the third round, closing with three straight pars.
“I can go back to the hotel and put my feet up for a little bit,” Streb said. “Waking up at 4 a.m. and getting done at dark is a long day.”
Collin Morikawa was third at 33 after a 13-point round. The 22-year-old Morikawa is making his sixth start as a professional after recently completing his college career at the University of California. In his last two events, he tied for second at the 3M Open and tied for fourth at the John Deere Classic.
“It would mean everything, especially that I’ve locked up pretty much my card for next year,” Morikawa said about the possibility of winning Sunday. “The goal’s to get in the playoffs, and the only way to do that is with a win. I’ve got this week and next week.”