Troy Merritt finishes off first PGA Tour win with rousing birdie

Devil Ball Golf

GAINESVILLE, Va. -- In his 96th PGA Tour start, Troy Merritt is a winner.

With a final round 4-under 67 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Merritt took the Quicken Loans National for his first professional win since a 2009 breakthrough on the Web.com Tour. 

Merritt shot 18-under 266 and finished three clear of Rickie Fowler, the pre-tournament favorite, whose scorecard had plenty of circles and squares on it with six pars, seven birdies and five bogeys. Fowler closed with three birdies in his final five holes to make a late charge at Merritt, posting a closing 69.

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Entering the final day, Merritt shared the lead with Kevin Chappell and was being pursued by the likes of Rickie Fowler and Bill Haas, much more accomplished contemporaries seemingly more accustomed to the pressure of closing out PGA Tour wins for seven-figure paychecks. That didn't prove the case on Sunday, however, as Merritt, who turns 30 in October, carried himself like a player who was working his way through a Thursday opener. Merritt made two birdies in the final three holes to lock up the win, including a bonus 35-footer to end the tournament. 

David Lingmerth finished in third at 14 under par, with six players tied for fourth at 12 under par, including Justin Rose, Bill Haas, Danny Lee, Justin Thomas, Jason Bohn and Carl Pettersson.

Tiger Woods, who fell out of contention following a Saturday 74, shot 3-under 68 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 18th place along with Chappell, whose Sunday 78 derailed his hopes for a first PGA Tour win.

The win gets Merritt into next week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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