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February 17 2013

6:07 PM

New face joins Merrick in lead

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- John Merrick doesn't have to look far to see his nearest competitor now.

Not after consecutive birdies have pulled his playing partner, Fredrik Jacobson, even with Merrick at 11 under. The Swede made a 5-footer at the 15th hole and a big-breaking 14-foot putt for another birdie at No. 16 whilke Merrick was reeling off pars.

Charlie Beljan, Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel are another stroke behind. Mahan and Beljan are playing in the group ahead of the two leaders while Schwartzel is in the final threesome of the day.

Merrick is looking for the first win of his PGA TOUR career. Jacobson made his breakthrough a year ago at the Travelers Championship.

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