NORTH CAROLINA — Rookie Derek Ernst crowned a fairy tale week by parring the first hole of a sudden-death playoff on Sunday to beat Briton David Lynn and win the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ernst (22) who sank a four-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie for the lead, won his first PGA Tour title with a tap-in par at the par-four 18th after Lynn, runner-up at last year’s PGA Championship, got into trouble off the tee in sudden death.
“It feels incredible,” Ernst said in a greenside TV interview. “It’s just unbelievable. This feeling is incredible. My heart’s beating a million miles an hour.”
Entering the field as the fourth alternate, Ernst won his maiden title in his eighth start on the tour this year. The Californian’s previous best finish was a tie for 41st at the 2012 Frys.com Open.
Lynn hit his tee shot on the playoff hole into deep rough on the banks of a creek on the left, put his second shot into a greenside bunker and then overshot the green. His chip ran eight feet past the cup, allowing the American to win with par.
Ernst won with steady ball-striking, a smooth putting stroke and some brilliant play at the 18th, the hardest hole of the week. He had totaled $28 255 in PGA Tour earnings this year before pocketing a winner’s prize of more than $1 million.