RBC Heritage. Troy Merritt Has The Advantage.

White Dragon Golf RBC Heritage

Troy Merritt has the advantage at the half-way point in the RBC Heritage, leading the tournament by a comfortable four shots at Hilton Head.

RBC Heritage

Troy Merritt / A/P

Troy set a terrific pace, starting on the back nine,  going out in -7 under par 28 on his way to tying the Harbour Town Golf Links course record of -10 under par 61. He leads the RBC Heritage by four shots at -12 under par.

Troy has a strange quirk, in that he tries not to take a ball out of play after making a birdie with it, on this occasion his ball got beat up at the 12th hole, but he stuck with it, and made six birdies in the remainder of his round;

“It’s all about tempo for me, and the tempo was really solid today,  it was fun to roll the putts in and hear the crowd cheer.”

“As long as I can break 61 on the front nine, I’ll be happy, I just want to enjoy the moment, not think too much about the shots and add them up at the end of the day.”

“Anytime that you match shot for shot with the Masters champ, with the way he’s playing, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

The Masters Champ he was referring to was Jordan Spieth, who shot -9 under par 62 today to recover from yesterdays mini slump of +2 over par 74, leaving him at -6 under par for the tournament T7. Jordan explained what had happened;

“That’s just better golf, I told you guys yesterday, no excuses, I just played poorly.”

“I went back to posture, ball position, hand position and tempo, and I struck that ball quite a bit better.”

“I don’t want to go home early.”

Troy’s two-round total of 130 also got to within one shot of the 36-hole tournament record, which is shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, he said it would not stop him talking about it;

“It is pretty cool, but I’ll go ahead and say it was the second lowest through 36 holes, behind Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, they won’t mention that I shot 130, which is fine.”

“I didn’t know that the course record was 61, had I known that, I might’ve started to hit some shanks or trying to hole some shots. It was just a lot of fun out there, fun to play in front of the fans.”

Tied in second place at -8 under par are Matt Kuchar and John Merrick, Matt with a -5 under par 66 and John with one better -6 under 65.

Defending Champion Matt played alongside Jordan, but stuck to his guns;

“The conditions were easier today than yesterday, so I think we all got out there thinking this is a good opportunity to take advantage of some tamer conditions, and I got off to a good start.”

“It’s got to be more than a coincidence when you have two guys in a group who fire great rounds. There’s certainly got to be some momentum that pulls the other ones along. It seems to happen a lot.”

RBC Heritage. Every & G-Mac Lead.

White Dragon GolfRBC Heritage

Matt Every and Graeme McDowell lead the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, at the end of day 1.

RBC HeritageRBC Heritage

 Matt Every & Graeme McDowell / Getty Images.

Matt chipped in for birdie, twice in a row, at six and seven on his way to his best round ever to share the lead in the RBC Heritage at -5 under par, following his opening round 66.

He did admit that his short game was awesome today;

“Man, my short game was, the best it’s been in a long time.”

“I saved a ton of shots, I probably shouldn’t have shot 5-under, more like even, but I’ll take it.”

“The Harbour Town course wasn’t playing that easy either, but I got a lot out of my game, for sure. It’s nice. I felt like I stole one; I probably stole five or six shots today.”

G-Mac, who has won here at Harbour Town said you have to be patient, and he was good at putting. he also had a -5  under par first round;

“I just felt really good on the greens, you just have to stay real patient.”

“You have to position your ball well at times; you have to be really aware of the wind on this golf course.”

Sangmoon Bae is in third place at -4 under par, and was happy to be back in contention after suffering a bout of poor ball striking recently, but a new coach has changed things around for him;

“I couldn’t play well the last couple of weeks because my ball-striking wasn’t great.”

“Ball-striking was really, really bad the last couple of weeks, but things are a little improved right now.”

“That’s why I played good today and played well last week at the Masters.”

“I couldn’t play well the last four or five weeks. I hit the ball, like, to the left, or very thin or fat.”

“I’m trying to focus on my short game and putting which is really important on this golf course. I’m still working on it, but a little came back.”

“Tee shot is really hard on this course, so I’m just trying to get a little wide space, left or right, not necessarily the center of the fairway, where it may be impossible to hit the green.”

“I didn’t try to shape shots a lot, no, these greens are really small, so I hit the ball to the center of the green, then make more birdies chances.”

It doesn’t matter where the pin is, I’m trying to hit it center of the green. Course management.”

Hometown boy Kevin Kisner is in a five-way tie for fifth place at -3 under par.

Kevin does not like poa annua greens, it makes it difficult for him to putt well;

“I’m glad to be back in the Lowcountry, my home state tournament, so excited to perform in front of family and friends.”

“I always struggle on the West Coast, a good ol’ Southern boy doesn’t putt on poa annua too well. I’m getting back to some grass that I like.”

“I started a trend Thursday in the right direction. This is probably about where I start playing my best in the previous years. Last year I did okay here, and then got on a run at Charlotte,Wells Fargo Championship, and the Byron Nelson. Hopefully, it’s going that way again.”

“Days like this, with blustery breezes in the morning round, you want to make all those birdie chances you get, because you know you’re not going to have that many opportunities.”



RBC Heritage, 2nd round @ Harbour Town

Colt Knost remains at the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, Hilton Head. Colt had a -5 under par round of 66, for a tournament total of -9 under par. He leads by two shots from Carl Pettersson who fired in a -6 under par 65, for a total 0f -7 under par.

Colt cruising so far

Greenwood/Getty Images

Asked about his two days play, Colt replied;

“You know, it’s been a really solid two days for me. Definitely got on the lucky side of the draw with the wind. And I guess it was a little cold yesterday morning I heard. Very pleased with how I’m playing right now, striking it well, and making a few putts. I love Harbour Town, it’s one of the favorite courses all year. It sets up well for me and I’m looking forward to the weekend.  I’m just doing everything really solid. I feel like I’m driving it really well. I don’t know how many fairways I’ve hit or greens, but I know that I have not been in very much trouble. I haven’t short-sided myself much this week, which is huge out here. When I have missed the green I felt like I’ve been able to putt from the closely mown areas. I’m minimizing my mistakes. And I take advantage when I have a short iron into most of the holes. This place is still really tough. The wind started blowing at the end of the day today. It swirled so much out there, it’s hard. You never know where the wind is coming from. You know, the greens are so small out here, you can’t really play conservative. If you hit the green, you’re going to have 15, 20 feet. I feel like there’s a few holes you have to get through, like No. 8 for example is a tough one. 4 is tough. All the par-3s are very tough out here. It’s kind of like you take three on all of them and run. When I have a good number and it’s a green light to me, I’m going. These guys are going to shoot low scores out here. They’re too good. They’re way too good to play conservative. And I’m just trying to take advantage of my opportunities when I have them. And I did that for the most part today.”

Carl Pettersson, with the broomstick putter, is always happy to play at Harbour Town;

Carl Pettersson, Of Sweden,  Putts

The Associated Press

“I love this golf course. I’ve been coming here ten years. I’ve had some good finishes. I’ve also missed the cut. But it’s a great golf course, I really enjoy playing it. It’s probably my favorite one of the year. I’m always happy to come back here and play.  I’ve still got a long way to go. My game is good. In golf you still have two days, which is a long way to go in golf. I’m just happy to be playing well and hopefully have a chance on the weekend.  I’m feeling good right now. I’m enjoying playing. This is my favorite tournament of the year. So I’m excited to play well, and I always enjoy coming here.”

World number one Luke Donald came back today shooting a  69 and making the cut, unlike some of the other big names.

Back in the picture

Martin/Getty Images

Missing the cut were; Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson, Jose Maria Olazabal and Mike Weir.

RBC Heritage, 1st round

Tied for the lead at after the 1st round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina are, Chad Campbell, Vaughn Taylor and Colt Knost. All three had a first round score of  67 for a total of -4 under par for the tournament.

Colt Knost commented on his late tee time today and early start tomorrow;

Colt Knost WatchesThe Associated Press

‘ It’s good. It’s good to take advantage of , it’s probably good in this situation. It’s normally a tough tee time to finish so late, and the greens aren’t quite as good as they normally are. I’m excited to go out and have a little better conditions in the morning and get after it. I heard it was cold and a little windy this morning. From what I’ve seen it’s supposed to be a little better tomorrow. If it is, it is, if not, but it wasn’t calm for us out there today. Our first 12, 13 holes it was windy and it was swirling around a lot out there. We got lucky the last few coming in, and I was able to take advantage of it”

Vaughn Taylor said;

It’s very difficult. It’s obviously a tough driving course. And then if you’re not on the right side of the fairway, your back is behind the wall. And the greens are firm and fast. So it’s tough. You’ve just got to kind of grind it out. You know you’re going to miss some greens. So you’ve got to do your best trying to get the ball up and down. I fortunately did a good job of that today.” And of his effort on the ninth hole, Vaughn happily recounted; ” I had exactly 100 yards to the hole. I was trying to decide between a lob wedge and a sand wedge, but I had a little bit of an upslope lie, I decided to go with the sand wedge and hit a smooth one. Came off right, right at it, and fortunate enough to go in.”

Chad Campbell was pleased with his round;

Chad Campbell WatchesThe Associated Press

 ” It felt like I’ve been playing better here lately. I got off to a great start today; birdied 2 and 4 and 5. It’s nice to get off to a good start here. It was a little tricky with the winds, and it’s always a tough golf course. Pleased about the way I played today.”

There are four players just one shot behind, Jim Furyk, Charlie Wi, Harris English and Matt Every.

Biggest surprise of the day was world number one Luke Donald struggling to a +4 over par round of 75.

Luke Donald HandsThe Associated Press