Merrick wins in a playoff at Riviera

Updated: February 17, 2013

For the second straight year the
Northern Trust Open came down to a playoff.

On Sunday, John Merrick parred the second extra hole to dispatch Charlie
Beljan after the pair overtook defending champion and overnight leader Bill
Haas during the final round.

Last year, Haas needed a pair of extra holes to beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan
Bradley with a lengthy birdie putt. He appeared poised for a repeat before
carding a final-round 73, which allowed Merrick (69) and Beljan (67) to leap
to the top.

Beljan has publicly struggled with anxiety issues, but he calmly drained a
tricky birdie putt on No. 18 at Riviera Country Club to get into the playoff.
He sunk another tough putt on the first extra hole, as both players parred,
but he couldn’t duplicate the feat on the par-4 10th.

Merrick tapped in for par on the 10th and when Beljan’s par effort from around
10 feet narrowly missed, the nearby Long Beach, California, product had his
first PGA Tour victory in his own backyard.

More to follow.