The Importance of Being Ernst
By Torleif Sorenson on 5/5/13
Following an exodus of big-name players from this week's Wells Fargo Championship due to rough conditions at Quail Hollow, we told you on Thursday about PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst, who was ranked 1,207th in the world when he got into the field as the fourth alternate. Originally, Ernst was headed to Athens for the Tour's Stadion Classic at the University of Georgia, but following a phone call from tournament organizers and a humorous trade-off of rental cars, Ernst hit the road for rainy, cloudy Charlotte, instead.

After some hiccups throughout the spring, Ernst made his third cut this past Friday by following up an opening round 67 with a second round 71 (-1). Following an even-par third round on Saturday, Ernst muddied his fourth-round card with bogeys at the 2nd and 8th, but carded four offsetting birdies, including critical birds at 15 and 18, which was good enough to get him into a playoff with Englishman David Lynn. Shockingly, Phil Mickelson bogeyed 16 and 17 to miss that playoff by one.

In the playoff itself, which was played in a pounding rain, Lynn made a mess, sending his tee-shot into an awkward lie just off the creek running up the left side of the 18th. Lynn's remarkably good hybrid second wound up in a bunker to the right of the green, but Lynn then skulled his sand shot across the green into the rough. His fourth shot skittered more than ten feet past the hole.

Meanwhile, Ernst hit what CBS's David Feherty called "the shot of the tournament," lacing a long-iron to the left portion of the 18th green. Even after Lynn's foozled pitch, Ernst kept his proverbial foot on the pedal; he lipped out his birdie attempt. A tap-in from sneeze-in distance sealed the deal.

As a result, Ernst gets into the field at the Player's Championship at Sawgrass on Thursday, the WGCs, the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the Tournament of Champions next January, and The Masters 11 months from now. Just as importantly, Ernst has nailed down a critically important two-year exemption on Tour. This feel-good story about a rookie who has played well despite only one good eye just keeps getting better.

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Image via PGA Tour

[ comments ]
joe jones says:
Good job. Well earned victory for a rookie.
snkli says:
I don't think he is complaining about the conditions on the course.
mustang6560 says:
Global Golf Post used the exact same headline. I'm not sure if GGP is aware of oob, but Tor definitely beat them to the punch. GGP's "Must Read Monday" edition hit my email at 5:47 a.m. this morning while Tor's article hit my feed over 22 hours ago. Someone should send an email...
[ post comment ]
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