Merrick claims maiden victory
Last updated: 18th February 2013
John Merrick edged out Charlie Beljan in a play-off to win the Northern Trust Open, his first PGA title.
Merrick pared the second extra hole to see off the charge of Beljan after the pair had finished tied on 11 under.
The 30-year-old had begun the day in joint second, three shots back from overnight leader Bill Haas, but with Haas pressing the self-destruct button, Merrick's two-under-par 69 was enough to claim him a share of the play-off action.
Merrick's maiden title has been a long time coming, with the California native having turned pro in 2004.
"I can't even put it into words right now," said the man who grew up in Long beach and attended UCLA.
"Growing up here as a kid, I just wanted to play this tournament. This is unbelievable."
It was a day to forget for Haas (73) who stumbled with five birdies in seven holes from the 7th to the 13th. Birdies on the closing two holes saw the defending champion edge back up to ten under, one shot adrift of a play-off spot.
Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson (69) and former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (70) joined Haas in a tie for second.
Defending US Open champion Webb Simpson (71) and Josh Teater (69) were a further shot back.
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