116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
POTOMAC, Md. — Troy Merritt’s in a memorable part of the map for his PGA career.
The tour is hosting the Wells Fargo Championship this week at TPC Potomac — only 37 miles away at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., where he nabbed his first PGA Tour win in 2015 at the now retired Quicken Loans National.
This week marks the first time since 2018 that the Tour has been at TPC Potomac.
For Merritt, he remembers a couple of memorable firsts in his career that happened on this course.
“It’s a tough course and I’ve played four tournaments here,” Merritt said. “It’s the site of my first hole in one in 2012 on 17. It’s also the site of my first over-80 round on Tour, in 2017 in the second round, so I’ve got a couple of firsts here. But it’s just a really hard golf course and it makes you focus on one shot at a time.”
Merritt shot 82 in his second round in 2017, after a 4-under 66 on Thursday had him only one shot off the lead. No one ever said golf is an easy game.
Merritt shot a 1-over 71 on Thursday and will need to bounce back with likely a sub-70 round on Friday to make the weekend.
Merritt was born in Osage, but went to high school in Spring Lake Park, Minn., and college at Winona State. He still has connections with Iowa, however.
“My brother, sister-in-law, nephew, all live in Cedar Rapids,” Merritt said. “A lot of my extended family still lives in Dubuque.”
Merritt said he gets to Cedar Rapids when he can.
“I usually see them during the John Deere, but this year I took a spring break trip to Cedar Rapids to see my brother (Ben), my sister-in-law and my nephew,” he said. “... I’m not playing the Deere (this year), so probably won’t see them until the next year.”
Does he have a favorite memory in Iowa in his younger years?
“Dubuque was always one of my favorite vacation spots as a kid,” Merritt said. “We’d drive all the way out from Idaho and take a two-week trip every summer, and the trip was a long way.
“I always got to see my family and friends and it was just really fun to be there because we didn’t get to do it but one time a year.”
There was a particular activity in Dubuque that Merritt was fond of.
“I really liked going to the dog track in Dubuque, even though I couldn’t gamble as a kid back then,” he said. “But it’s just fun to spend time with the extended family because we never got to see them.”
Merritt’s last couple months on Tour have been productive with two ties for fourth at Pebble Beach in February and the Valero Texas Open in April. He tied for 12th at RBC Heritage this month before a missed cut at New Orleans.
“It’s been great,” Merritt said of his spring. “I’m going with the less is more attitude. Try and play more natural golf. I practice not nearly as much as I have the last couple years. I just try to show up and play with how I feel that week and most weeks it’s been working.”