Derek Ernst overcame a competitive field at the Wells Fargo Championship to win his first career PGA tournament.
The 22-year-old golfer had only made two cuts in seven events coming into the week, but he had an incredible four rounds at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. Thanks to three birdies on the back nine—including one on No. 18—he finish tied for first at eight-under par after 72 holes.
Ernst then defeated David Lynn in the first playoff hole to win the prestigious tournament. This victory automatically gives him an invitation to next week's Players' Championship.
The PGA Tour official Twitter account has an interesting fact about how the youngster began the week:
This is quite a nice turn of events for the rookie making only his ninth career start.
Here is a look at the final leaderboard for the championship, courtesy of PGATour.com.
|T6||Bo Van Pelt||-5|
|T10||Charles Howell III||-4|
While Ernst is relatively new to the leaderboard, there were plenty of familiar names on the top of the chart. Phil Mickelson finished third after leading throughout much of the tournament. He started with rounds of 68 and 67 before ending the weekend with back-to-back rounds of 73.
Lefty was doomed by bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes and finished one stroke off the lead.
Lee Westwood also had an up-and-down final round to end in fourth place. His even-par 72 included four bogeys and four birdies in an eventful day.
Among the other notable names entered in this tournament was Rory McIlroy. The No. 2 golfer in the world started off strong with a 67, although he was unable to replicate his score from Thursday and finished at only four-under par for the event.
McIlroy ended his week with two bogeys and a double bogey in the final seven holes to keep him out of contention.
Still, this event was all about Ernst. He was very efficient throughout the week, getting to the green in regulation on 77.78 percent of his holes. On the greens, he was rarely spectacular, but he made the putts when he needed to.
If he can keep up this momentum, he has the potential to be a legitimate contender in many more events in the future.