Merritt claims lead going into final round at Barracuda Championship; one player tests positive for COVID-19 | SierraSun.com
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Merritt claims lead going into final round at Barracuda Championship; one player tests positive for COVID-19

Troy Merritt plays his shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the Barracuda Championship at Tahoe Mountain Club's Old Greenwood Golf Course.
Getty Images | Courtesy of Jed Jacobsohn / Gett

Following the best round of the day at the Barracuda Championship, Troy Merritt has jumped into the lead, holding a four-point edge heading into tomorrow’s final round of play.

Merritt, 34, had eight birdies on the day as part of a 14-point round under the modified Stableford scoring format. He leads the field with a three-day total of 33 points.

Merritt finished his round on the par-71, 7,390-yard Old Greenwood Golf Course with birdies on holes 16 and 17, before just missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole.

“I really wanted to make that last putt,” said Merritt. “I figured it would give me a five-point lead, and it’s a two-and-a-half-birdie lead had I made it, and I missed it. But a six-point lead would have been really nice. You just try to keep building. The points change so quickly around here … You just try to go out, keep making birdies. The mindset is they have to come and get you, don’t go backwards. So we’ll just go out, try to keep hitting the fairways like we have been and giving ourselves some looks and hopefully make the putts tomorrow.”

Kyle Stanley, 32, entered today’s round with a two-point edge, but struggled on the course, finishing with zero point on a day that included a trio of bogeys and a double bogey. Stanley now sits in a tie for 10th place with 22 points.

Emiliano Grillo, 27, of Argentina, had his best round of the tournament, scoring 11 points, and now sits in a two-way tie for second place with 29 points.

“I played well,” said Grillo. “I played well all day. Pins were tougher on the front nine. I would say they were a bit easier to get close on the back nine, and I was able to do that. I birdied the two par-3s on the back nine, which is a plus out here, and I didn’t have the opportunity to putt for eagle many times today, so I think that’s a key for tomorrow, to just go out there and have chances, put up a good number on the back front and then have a chance on the back nine. “

Maverick McNealy, 24, is also tied for second place, having finished today’s round with 10 points.

“I thought it was a solid day,” said McNealy. “It’s my second 67, put up 10 points, and I’m in good position going into tomorrow. I definitely have been getting off to really good starts my first three rounds, and just got to keep that going tomorrow.”

Robert Streb, 33, sits in fourth place after scoring eight points today, improving his tournament total to 28 points.

Streb was initially slated to play with South Africa’s Branden Grace, who was sitting in second place going into today’s round, but Grace withdrew after testing positive for Covid-19.

“Sadly I have tested positive for COVID-19 this morning,” said Grace in a post to his Twitter account. “After having cold-like symptoms last night in my hotel room, I called the tour and went in for testing first thing this morning. Given my position on the leaderboard, it was a difficult decision, but nonetheless, the correct one for my fellow competitors & volunteers. I will be self isolating in my RV, according to the CDC guidelines until my next test. Stay safe out there and hopefully see you all back on the course again soon.”

Grace will no longer play in next week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.

Tomorrow’s final round will begin at 9:35 a.m. at Old Greenwood Golf Course. The Golf Channel has coverage of the event. The winner earns a spot in the field at next week’s PGA Championship, if not already exempt. The top two players, not otherwise exempt, finishing in the top-10, earn exemptions into 2020 U.S. Open.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


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