Troy Merritt, after 62, leads FedEx Cup playoff opener

Troy Merritt shot a 9-under-par 62, tying the course record at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., to take a one-shot lead Thursday at the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoff opener, the Northern Trust.

Merritt began with a 10-foot par save, followed with two 20-foot birdie putts and took advantage of the rain-softened course for a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

Merritt is No. 72 in the FedEx Cup, with the top 70 advancing next week to the BMW Championship near Chicago. Points are quadrupled in the postseason.

“I know good golf will take care of itself,” Merritt said. “You just try to play the best you can. Obviously, I’ll be watching throughout the weekend, but just getting off to a good start, put that to the back of the mind and try to win a golf tournament.”

Tiger Woods, in only his third round since the U.S. Open, made double-bogey on the shortest hole on the course, three-putted from 15 feet and had three bogeys from the fairway in a round of 75. Along with being 13 shots out of the lead, he was in danger of missing the cut for the first time in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which also would jeopardize a return to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

“We all knew it was soft out here with the rain last night,” Woods said. “I knew I had to go get it, post a low one, and didn’t do it. It’s certainly out there. Greens are soft. Fairways are soft. You can play aggressively and not have any real ramifications for playing aggressive.”

U.S. Women’s Amateur: Redwood City’s Lucy Li and Stanford teammates Albane Valenzuela and Andrea Lee advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals in West Point, Miss., by winning twice in match play Thursday.

Lee moved on after winning the longest match of the day, using a two-putt par on the 23rd hole to beat Alexa Pano, 14, of Lake Worth, Fla. Lee earlier beat the University of Arkansas’ Brooke Matthews 4 and 3.

Li, 16, defeated Florida State’s Amanda Doherty 5 and 4 before ousting Kent State’s Pimnipa Panthong 2 and 1.

Valenzuela advanced to the round of 16 by beating North Carolina’s Brynn Walker 1 up and then topped Auburn’s Megan Schofill 4 and 3.

Lee will face Li in the quarters, and Valenzuela will play Ohio State’s Aneka Seumanutafa.

“She’s a tough competitor for sure, and it’s going to be a tough match,” Lee of facing Li. “She’s a really solid golfer.”

LPGA Tour: In North Berwick, Scotland, Jane Park, Anne van Dam and Mi Hyang Lee took each shot an 8-under 63 to share the lead at the Ladies Scottish Open.

Lee won the event two years ago at Dundonald. Park and van Dam are seeking their first LPGA Tour victories.

Moriya Jutanugarn was one shot back on a sunny day of low scoring at the Renaissance Club, a resort links next to Muirfield on Scotland’s East coast.

Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn, winless since last year’s triumph at Gullane, opened with a 69.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Troy-Merritt-after-62-leads-FedEx-Cup-playoff-14292096.php.

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