Derek Ernst gets First U.S. PGA Tour Title

It was this past weekend that Derek Ernst wrote a page in his own career history book when he won the Wells Fargo Championship, his first ever U.S. PGA tour title. He wasn’t supposed to win, coming into the tournament as fourth alternate, with a world ranking of 1,207, and was called in at the last minute — while he was on his way to a PGA developmental circuit.  But as the big contenders fell behind, Ernst stepped up for the win.

Phil Mickelson was one of the biggest favorites coming into the tournament, and he remained so throughout most of the event. But while he could hang onto the lead for most of the round, he fell back into the third spot with a bogey on both the 16th and 17th holes. When he stepped up to the 18th, a 21-foot birdie shot far wide of the hole, and he missed the chance to go to the playoff.

That round would see Derek Ernst, who had been quietly creeping up from behind, and England’s David Lynn teeing off against each other. Shaking off the miserable weather and parring that last hole, Ernst took the title of the tournament, but that’s not what means the most to him. What he’s most looking forward to is simply being able to play on the PGA for the next two years; due to the exemption he gets from winning at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina at Wells Fargo.

“The money is money, it will come and go,” Ernst said right after his big win. “But winning and having a job and playing out here for the next two years, that’s what I want to do. I want to play out here, so that is the best part.”

Still, the $1.2 million he made from this weekend’s championship isn’t anything to sneeze at either.

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