PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst needed one playoff hole to defeat David Lynn to win the Wells Fargo Championship Sunday at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C.
Ernst made par on the first playoff hole, the par-5 No. 18, to defeat Lynn for the first win of his career.
In a final round marked with rain, cold and wind, Ernst found himself one down on the 72nd hole needing to make birdie from 192 yards. He hit his ball to four feet and made the putt to force the playoff.
Ernst came out on top of a strong field that saw Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Nick Watney in contention for the title on Sunday.
“This feeling is unbelievable right now,” said Ernst, who becomes the youngest winner on Tour this year and continues the trend of American dominance of the first half of the Tour season.
Ernst, a 22-year-old native of California, entered the week ranked No. 1,207 in the Official Golf World Rankings. His best finish in a prior event was T-47 and had missed the cut in five of his seven Tour starts this year. He got into the field this week as a fourth alternate.
Meanwhile, Mickelson appeared to be in total control up by one shot with three holes to play. After bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17, Mickelson watched his 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to get into the playoff slide by.
With the win, Ernst earned himself a two-year exemption on the Tour, 500 FedEx Cup points and entry into next week’s Players Championship, the 2013 PGA Championship, 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions and 2014 Masters.