2019 Northern TrustAugust 9, 2019

Troy Merritt can thank a strong gust of wind for one of the most fortunate birdies of the week

The Northern Trust - Round One
Kevin C. CoxJERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 08: Troy Merritt of the United States reacts after a putt on the seventh green during the first round of The Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club on August 08, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Troy Merritt is one of the surprise names at the top of the leaderboard early at the Northern Trust. The 33-year-old carded a nine-under 62 to tie the course record at Liberty National on Thursday, putting him in position for the biggest win of his career.

Merritt started out his Friday round hot—leading for most of the day with three birdies in his first six holes. One of those birdies, coming at the par-5 sixth hole, was aided by some good fortune for the two-time PGA Tour winner. How often do you see a gust of wind blow a golf ball into the hole? Other than the Open Championship, that's a rarity on the PGA Tour. But that's exactly what happened for Merritt on Friday:

Merritt has since given a couple shots back—double bogeying the par-4 15th hole after his ball found the very thick fescue left of the green. But as play was temporarily suspended due to inclement weather with him having three holes to play, Merritt was still just one back of the lead.

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What's the old adage—there are no pictures on the scorecard? A birdie's a birdie, and Troy Merritt can thank that smooth gust of wind off the waters of the canals of the Hudson River for at least one of those birdies. And we can thank it for this unlikely highlight.

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