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POSTED February 18, 2013 12:57 a.m.

GOLF

• MERRICK GETS HIS FIRST WIN AT HOME
: LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.



• WOODS GETS HOWELL IN 1ST ROUND OF MATCH PLAY
: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will face some familiar players in the opening round of the Match Play Championship.

McIlroy, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland, is the No. 1 seed at Dove Mountain north of Tucson, Ariz. He will play Shane Lowry of Ireland, who got in when Phil Mickelson chose not to play. Woods is the No. 2 and will play Charles Howell III, the first time they have squared off in this format since Woods beat Howell in the quarterfinals of the 1996 U.S. Amateur.

Luke Donald, who won the Match Play in 2011, is the No. 3 seed and opens against Marcel Siem of Germany. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is the No. 4 seed and will play Richie Ramsay of Scotland.

The tournament begins Wednesday.

McIlroy, who lost in the championship match a year ago to Hunter Mahan, is the No. 1 seed for the first time.



TENNIS

• NADAL WINS 1ST TITLE SINCE RETURN FROM INJURY
: SAO PAULO (AP) — The last time Rafael Nadal won in Brazil, it was at the very start of the most dominant clay-court career tennis has ever seen.

Eight years later, Nadal hopes his second title here will mark the restart.

Nadal beat David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Brazil Open on Sunday, his first trophy since returning from a seven-month layoff to treat his left knee.

While this indoor clay-court tournament is much more low-priofile than those he has grown used to winning, Nadal thrust his arms into the air and pumped his fist after Nalbandian sent a shot long to give the Spaniard his 51st singles title.



TRACK

• AGENT CANCELS ALL FUTURE RACES FOR PISTORIUS
: JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius’ track career was put on hold indefinitely Sunday because of his murder charge, reinforcing the possibility that the double-amputee Olympian and disabled sports icon might never run again competitively on his famous carbon fiber blades.

Pistorius’ agent was forced to cancel all future races, he said, so Pistorius could concentrate on defending himself against allegations he murdered his model girlfriend by shooting her several times in his upscale house on Valentine’s Day morning.

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