John Merrick, a Long Beach Wilson High graduate and a Pac-10 champion at UCLA, collected his first victory on the PGA Tour by defeating Charlie Beljan on the second playoff hole in the Northern Trust Open on Sunday at Riviera Country Club.
Beljan, the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and a 2007 All-American at New Mexico, had a chance to extend the playoff to a third hole but he missed a five-foot par putt.
"I can't put this into words,” an emotional Merrick said afterward. "Growing up as a kid, coming out here, I just wanted to play this tournament."
Merrick, 30, had a final-round 69 to finish at 11 under par for the tournament.
Beljan, who earned his first PGA Tour title in November when he played through a panic attack in the second round and won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., shot a 67 Sunday, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole to get to 11 under.