Golf: Troy Merritt wins rain-delayed Barbasol C'ship by a stroke for second title, gets two-year Tour exemption

Troy Merritt poses with his trophy after winning the Barbasol Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 23, 2018.
Troy Merritt poses with his trophy after winning the Barbasol Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 23, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - American golfer Troy Merritt capped a brilliant week by winning the rain-delayed Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky by one stroke on Monday (July 23) to earn a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

The 32-year-old, who was in a four-way share of the lead when the final round began on Sunday but did not swing a club due to weather delays that led to a suspension in play, returned the next day to card a five-under 67 at Keene Trace Golf Club.

His 23-under total of 265 left him one stroke clear of compatriots Billy Horschel (67), Richy Werenski (66) and Tom Lovelady (68).

Merritt, whose only previous win on the PGA Tour came at the 2015 Quicken Loans National, was one of eight golfers who did not play on Sunday when rain and thunderstorms interrupted the final round before play was called off for the day.

For Merritt, who led or shared the lead after each round and tied the course record with an opening 62, the highlight of his final round came when he holed out from 133 yards to make eagle at the par-four eighth hole.

The victory earns him a two-year exemption on tour as well as a spot in the Aug 9-12 PGA Championship at Bellerive Golf Course in St Louis.

"We're gonna celebrate this one for a while and enjoy the fact we've got two more years out here," Merritt told Golf Channel.

"It's been a few years. I'm sure I'll have some emotions here the next 10 minutes. It's been a struggle, not just for myself but for my family, always cheering me on."