CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Six days after rookie Derek Ernst received a call that he was in the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate, the 22-year-old found himself 1 shot out of the lead and 192 yards away from the flag on the 18th hole, the toughest at Quail Hollow, in the cold, wind and rain of a grueling final round.
Ernst choked up on a 6-iron and hit a draw that landed four feet from the hole for one of only four birdies on the closing hole Sunday.
"I was trying to hit it as close as I possibly could," he said.
The birdie gave him a 2-under 70 and tied him with David Lynn of England, who also had a 70. And it turned out to be no fluke. Returning to the 18th in the playoff, as the rain started coming out harder, Ernst hit a 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the flag that set up his stunning victory.
Phil Mickelson didn't get a chance to join them. He had a 1-shot lead with three holes to play until making back-to-back bogeys, missing putts of six feet and 10 feet, and closing with a 73.
"I felt like I was in control, and I let it slip away there the last few holes, so it was disappointing," he said.
So ended a strange week at Quail Hollow. The greens were shockingly bad because of weather and other issues. The sun never really came out all week. And the windchill Sunday morning made it feel like February.
Ernst was playing only his ninth PGA Tour event. He was No. 1,207 in the world ranking. He was in a car headed to Athens, Ga., to play a Web.com Tour event when he got the phone call telling him there was a tee time for him at Quail Hollow.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Cristie Kerr made a short putt on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Suzann Pettersen to win the Kingsmill Championship. Kerr shot a 2-under 69, and Pettersen had a 67 to finish at 12-under 272 on the River Course.