LOS ANGELES — John Merrick was a young face in the crowd for so many years, dreaming of one day play at Riviera on the PGA Tour. On Sunday, he did better than that. He won it.
Merrick hit two clutch shots that led to par in a sudden-death playoff and won the Northern Trust Open on Sunday when Charlie Beljan missed a 5-foot par putt on the second extra hole. It was the first PGA Tour win for Merrick, who went to school at UCLA.
Merrick closed with a 69. Beljan, famous for his anxiety attack when he won at Disney last year, holed an 18-foot birdie on the 18th hole for a 67.
Along with his first win on tour, the 30-year-old Merrick earns a spot in the Masters.
In his two Masters appearances, Merrick finished in a tie for 6th in 2009 but missed the cut in 2010.