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UCLA alum John Merrick wins at old stomping grounds of Riviera

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    Charlie Beljan reacts to a putt on the first hole in the final round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)The Associated Press

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    John Merrick misses an eagle putt but makes birdie on the first green watches in the final round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)The Associated Press

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    Fredrik Jacobson, of Sweden, watches the eagle putt miss and makes birdie on the first green in the final round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)The Associated Press

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    Hunter Mahan drives on the second tee in the final round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)The Associated Press

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.