Troy Merritt hangs onto RBC Heritage lead with third-round 69

Troy Merritt hangs onto RBC Heritage lead with third-round 69
Troy Merritt waves to the fans after completing his third round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Saturday. (Tyler Lecka / Getty Images)

Troy Merritt shot a two-under-par 69 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the RBC Heritage, while defending champion Matt Kuchar and Masters winner Jordan Spieth stayed within reach.

A day after tying the course record with a 61 to build a four-stroke advantage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Merritt had four birdies and a double bogey to reach 14-under 199.


Kuchar, Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner were tied for second.

Todd made the big move with a 63, the day's lowest round. Kisner shot 67, and Kuchar 68.

Jim Furyk led a group another stroke behind after a 68, with Spieth five shots back, also following a 68. Spieth believes he can shoot even lower Sunday to chase a second consecutive jacket, this one tartan.

Brice Garnett and Branden Grace were tied with Furyk in fifth. Garnett shot 65, and Grace 66. Bo Van Pelt was nine under along with Spieth after a 67.

The pack of seven players at eight under included 2013 RBC Heritage winner Graeme McDowell, past British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen and former world No. 1 Luke Donald.

Spieth thrilled the gallery with his bounce-back 62 on Friday and it was a full house around the first tee when the 21-year-old Texan got started. But Spieth played more like he did in Thursday's opening 74 than in the second round, fighting to put shots close and make putts on the way to 68.

Still, it was Spieth's 18th time breaking par in his past 19 rounds, a monthlong run of success that included the Valspar Championship title, seconds at Texas and Houston and that record-tying Masters win from last week where he matched Tiger Woods' mark of 18-under from 1997.

And the fans continued to celebrate that accomplishment, shouting and applauding Spieth wherever he walked. One more round and Spieth can get some rest: He's not playing the Zurich Open next week.

Spieth isn't counting out his chances of another round like Friday's. "There's a low one out there and I think it's certainly possible" to win, he said.

Only Bernhard Langer in 1985 followed a Masters win with success at the RBC Heritage.


Olin Browne shot a tournament-record eight-under 64 to take the second-round lead in the Champions Tour's Greater Gwinnett Championship in Duluth, Ga.

Browne was at 12 under. Bernard Langer was a stroke back after a 64 of his own, holing a 30-foot eagle putt on No. 18. He won the tournament in 2013 and finished second last year.

Browne's white shoes were streaked with red mud by the end of his day at soggy TPC Sugarloaf. The rain-delayed first round was completed early Saturday.


Rocco Mediate, who lost the lead with a double bogey on No. 11, was third at nine under after a 67.

First-round leader Tommy Armour III was at six under after a 71.


Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a four-under 68 to take the lead after the third round at the inaugural Shenzhen International on Saturday in China, though he let a five-shot advantage slip to two strokes with a double bogey-bogey finish.

Kiradech had nine birdies in his round to sit at 12-under 204 overall.

Overnight leader Peter Uihlein birdied the par-five 17th hole that Kiradech double-bogeyed to gain three strokes on his playing partner. Uihlein was at 10 under.

Both Kiradech and Uihlein are looking for their second European Tour titles.

Pablo Larrazabal of Spain matched the low round of the day with a 65 to move into third place, one stroke behind Uihlein.