Derek Ernst of the USA came through a playoff against England’s David Lynn to win the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ernst only made it into the tournament as the fourth alternate. He was in a car headed towards a Web.com Tour event when he received a phone call to say he had made it into the Quail Hollow field. He turned around, headed back to Charlotte and five days later he was the champion.
“This feeling is unbelievable right now,” said Ernst who has climbed from 196th to 32nd on the FedEx Cup standings and has earned a start in next week’s Players Championship.
In terrible conditions at Quail Hollow, the tournament could have ended very differently.
Phil Mickelson held a one-stroke lead with three holes to play but he bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes and narrowly failed to biridie the last. He closed with a 73 and finished one stroke back.
“I felt like I was in control, and I let it slip away there the last few holes, so it was disappointing,” Mickelson said.
England’s David Lynn closed with a 70 to finish on 280. That total was matched by Ernst when the young Californian played a superb approach to the tough 18th to set up one of only four birdies through the day at the closing hole.
Returning to the 18th for the playoff, Ernst once again played two solid shots to find the putting surface. Lynn drove down the left and his ball ended in thick rough on the edge of a stream. He fired out into the greenside bunker, blasted through the green and chipped up to five-feet.
But he wasn’t required to putt. Ernst rolled his ball close and made a par 4 to take the title.
“He played super,” said Lynn. “He hit two really solid shots in the playoff, so every credit to him. Well done.”
Another Englishman, Lee Westwood finished in a tie for fourth with Robert Karlsson of Sweden. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy closed with a 73 to finish in a tie for 10th.
Wells Fargo Championship
Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
May 2-5, purse $6,700,000 par 72
1 Derek Ernst (USA) 67 71 72 70 280 $1,206,000
2 David Lynn (Eng) 71 68 71 70 280 $723,600
3 Phil Mickelson (USA) 68 67 73 73 281 $455,600
T4 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69 72 69 72 282 $294,800
T4 Lee Westwood (Eng) 70 68 72 72 282 $294,800
T6 Ryan Moore (USA) 67 72 68 73 283 $216,913
T6 Kyle Stanley (USA) 74 68 73 68 283 $216,913
T6 Kevin Streelman (USA) 68 72 71 72 283 $216,913
T6 Bo Van Pelt (USA) 74 70 68 71 283 $216,913
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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