John Merrick In The Bag: Northern Trust Open Winning Clubs
By Jake O'Reilly
18 February 2013 10:27
John Merrick recorded his first career victory thanks to a second hole playoff win over Charlie Beljan at the Northern Trust Open.
The American had briefly looked out of it when he faced a daunting 3-iron shot under a row of eucalyptus trees and his opponent was in the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hand at the first playoff hole at Riviera Country Club.
But Merrick hit the perfect shot under the trees to escape with par, and he followed that with another flawless shot to a skinny section of the 10th green at the second playoff hole to 18 feet. His par was enough when Beljan three-putted from 70-feet.
“To be able to play the tournament was a dream of mine. But to win? I can't describe it. It's so much fun," said Merrick, who moves to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings.
Merrick had a number of lucky escapes around the back nine, including when his second shot on the par-5 17th headed towards the trees, only to find enough of a gap for him to go for the green and make a par.
It was Merrick’s 169th start on the PGA Tour and the win earns him a trip to the Masters.
Elsewhere in the field, Fredrik Jacobson missed a four-foot par putt on the 18th hole that would have put him in the playoff. He instead tied for third with Charl Schwartzel and Bill Haas, who held a three-shot lead going into the final round.
Haas looked to be in good position to join Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir, Corey Pavin and Ben Hogan as the only back-to-back winners at Riviera, and when he holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 3rd, it looked as though he would be tough to catch.
However, he made back-to-back bogeys late on the front nine, and his lead was down to one when he made the turn. At the 10th Merrick made a birdie from just inside 15-feet and tied Haas for the lead.
Haas went just through the green and rolled down a slope into the rough, and from there he pitched too strong and into the bunker. He failed to get up-and-down and made bogey to fall out of the lead for the first time all day and he never caught up.
Here are the clubs that Merrick used for his maiden PGA Tour win:
Driver: Titleist 913D2 (8.5 degrees) with an Aldila NV75 X shaft
Fairway wood: Titleist 913F (13.5 degrees) with an Aldila NV85 X shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees) with an Aldila NV105 shaft
Irons: Titleist 712MB (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (54 degrees and 60 degrees) with True Temper Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport SS Tour
Ball: Titleist ProV1x (2013 version)