Wells Fargo Championship Produces Another First Time Winner

Derek Ernst wasn’t even planning on competing at Quail Hollow. The 22 year old PGA Tour rookie was on his way to Athens, Georgia for a Web.com Tour event when he got a phone call. Due to several players pulling out of the Wells Fargo Championship, Ernst, the fourth alternate, was told to change his plans and head to Charlotte, North Carolina.

It ended up being a smart phone call to take. Ernst battled with some of the top names in the world and now joins the list of Rory Mcllroy (Palm Beach Gardens) and Rickie Fowler (Loxahatchee River), both of whom got their first tour wins at Quail Hollow as well.

Ernst hung around for the first three days, and while the golfers at the top of the leader board were shooting high scores on Sunday, Derek shot a two under 70 that got him into a playoff. It was the third consecutive year that the Wells Fargo Championship came down to a playoff finish. Ernst beat David Lynn on the first playoff hole to win his first PGA Tour event.  With the win, Ernst locked in his tour card for the next two years and is now eligible to play in the Players Championship this week, as well as the next two World Golf Championships, the PGA Championship, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions next year and the Masters next April.

quail-hollow-17th_t620Lynn, the runner up also played impressively all week. He matched Ernst with a final round 70 as well to get into the playoff. His only bad hole of the whole week came in the playoff. He tee shot just barely missed the creek on the 18th hole. After Ernst made it safely on the green in two, Lynn tried to make-up for his bad tee shot by going for the hole. After he ended up in the bunker, Ernst tapped in his birdie putt to secure the victory.

The two were in the playoff thanks to the big names on the top of the leader board struggling on Sunday. Phil Mickelson lead for most of the tournament, but bogeys on 16 and 17 on Sunday knocked him off the top spot on the leader board and out of the playoff. He had to settle for a third place finish.

Old Palm resident Lee Westwood entered Sunday just two shots back to the leader Mickelson. He couldn’t get anything going on Sunday on his way to a final round of even par and a fourth place finish. Mcllroy was another one that was in contention come Sunday. The 2010 Wells Fargo champion sat one shot behind Westwood at the beginning of the day Sunday. Just like Mickelson and Westwood, Mcllroy had trouble on the weekend, shooting 73 the final two days to finish 10th. It was Mcllroy’s third top 10 finish of the year.

For the complete final results from the Wells Fargo Championship, visit www.pgatour.com.

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