John Merrick turned in a 2-under-par 34-35=69 in the final round of the Northern Trust Open and eventually bested Charlie Beljan with a par on the second hole of a playoff to earn his first PGA TOUR win.
Merrick took advantage of what Rivera Country Club gave him all day. He circled birdies at the easy par-5 first, the short par-4 10th and the par-5 11th to go with a chip-in birdie from seven yards on the par-4 seventh in regulation. He then navigated many landmines the rest of the way, bogeying just the par-4 third and par-4 13th holes to finish the week at 11-under 68-66-70-69=273. When the playoff began, he saved a par after a poor drive on the 18th and then took an iron off the tee on the par-4 10th for the second time today. He then wedged on to just inside 20 feet and calmly 2-putted for par. He then watched as Beljan just missed his 4'7" par attempt. This win gets him into the Masters, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. He also climbs 167 spots to 74th in the Official World Golf Ranking. The newly crowned champion will take a much-earned week off.