Northern Trust Open: John Merrick beats Charlie Beljan in play-off to take title
Last Updated: February 18, 2013 12:03pm
John Merrick: A par at the second extra hole was enough to clinch victory
John Merrick clinched his maiden PGA Tour title at the Northern Trust Open after beating fellow American Charlie Beljan in a play-off.
The Californian came out on top at the second extra hole at the Riviera Country Club, a par being enough to see off his compatriot after the pair had finished tied on 11 under.
Both men had managed fours to start with at the 18th before Beljan - who had birdied the last in regulation to sign for a 67 - couldn't quite match his opponent at the 10th, meaning he missed out on the chance to add to his success at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic that saved his Tour card late last year.
Merrick's triumph came at the 169th attempt on the PGA Tour having turned pro back in 2004. He had hit the front with successive birdies to start his back nine, only to then give a shot back at the 13th.
(US unless stated)
-11 J Merrick (Won in a play-off)
-11 C Beljan
-10 B Haas
-10 F Jacobson (Swe)
-10 C Schwartzel (SA)
Click here for collated scores
Overnight leader Bill Haas had started the day three shots clear but saw his hopes of retaining the title he won in 2012 disappear when he carded five bogeys in the space of seven holes around the turn.
Too little too late
He had begun with birdies at the first and third and although he picked up shots at the final two holes, it was only enough for a share of second place.
Haas was joined on 10 under by South African Charl Schwartzel and Fredrik Jacobson, the Swede having missed the chance to make it a three-way play-off when he bogeyed the 18th.
Americans Josh Teater and Webb Simpson finished a further shot adrift, while Sang-Moon Bae and Hunter Mahan carded rounds of 67 and 69 respectively to sit on eight under.
Any hopes Luke Donald had of making a final-day charge in Pacific Palisades disappeared when he triple-bogeyed the 12th. He also ended with a five at the par-four last for a disappointing 75.
The Englishman finished on four under, one ahead of his compatriot Lee Westwood (71). It meant Sergio Garcia was the leading European on the final leaderboard, the Spaniard sitting alongside Ernie Els and Jim Furyk on five under.