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Ex-Boise State star Troy Merritt shares lead at PGA event

Troy Merritt tees off on the third hole during the third round of the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship golf tournament at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., on Saturday.
Troy Merritt tees off on the third hole during the third round of the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship golf tournament at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., on Saturday. AP

It was almost three years ago when former Boise State golfer Troy Merritt got his first – and so far only – win on the PGA Tour.

Playing in the Barbasol Championship just outside Lexington, Kentucky, this weekend, the Meridian resident has a great opportunity to get his second.

Merritt, who led after each of the first two rounds, shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday in the third round and is in a four-way tie for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. Merritt hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation Saturday but did not capitalize on as many putts as the first two days.

Merritt, Robert Streb (63), Hunter Mahan (64) and Tom Lovelady (65) all stand at 18 under at the par-72 Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, and it’s a crowded leaderboard behind the four-way tie at the top. Sam Ryder and Blayne Barber both shot 63s on Saturday and are tied with Billy Horschel (68) at 17 under. Two more golfers are at 16 under.

“I just tried to keep pace today,” Streb said after a round that included nine birdies. “Obviously, the scores were very low, you get to place the ball and the greens are holding. Everybody’s making a bunch of birdies and I’m just trying to keep up and have a chance.”

Merritt fired a course-record 62 in the first round Thursday to vault his way to the top and followed with a 67 on Friday before thunderstorms forced much of the field to finish the second round Saturday morning. The course was so soggy that golfers got to play “lift, clean and place” in the fairway.

Merritt’s only PGA Tour victory came at the Quicken Loans National in early August 2015; he finished that tournament 18 under to beat Rickie Fowler by three strokes.

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