Date: February 18, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Aussies tie for 10th as Merrick salutes

John Merrick has won the Northern Trust Open on the second playoff hole at the Riviera Country Club to secure his first ever PGA title, as Australians Greg Chalmers and Adam Scott posted top-10 finishes. The 30-year-old American pipped compatriot Charlie Beljan, who missed a five-foot par putt on the second extra hole to hand victory to Merrick after both players finished on 11 under overall at the end of the final round in Pacific Palisades, California. Merrick hit a solid two-under-par 69 on the final day and even though he carded a bogey on the 13th, managed to stay in control with pars on the final five holes to ensure his place in the playoff. Needing a big finish to give himself a chance, Beljan hit an equal-round best four-under 67, which included an incredible shot on the 18th hole to force a playoff against Merrick. Beljan rolled in an 18-foot birdie on the last hole before Fredrik Jacobson and Charl Schwartzel, both in share of third on 10 under, missed putts on the same hole to end their hopes of reaching the playoff. Overnight leader Bill Haas also finished equal-third after recording a two-over 73 that included an extraordinary five bogeys from holes seven to 13 as the pressure eventually got to the reigning champion. Americans Josh Teater (69) and Webb Simpson (71) tied for sixth on nine under while Sang-Moon Bae (67) of South Korea and American Hunter Mahan (69) finished equal-eighth a shot further back. Chalmers and Scott finished equal-10th on six under alongside American Ted Potter Jr. Chalmers matched Beljan with a four-under-par round while Scott, making his first appearance on the PGA Tour this season, shot a second straight 70. English world number three Luke Donald was in contention at the start of the day on eight under but hit a four-over 75, including a triple-bogey on the 12th hole, to finish tied for 16th.