It only took Derek Ernst one playoff hole to win his first ever PGA Tour event.
The 22-year-old pared the par-4 18th in the first playoff hole against David Lynn to capture the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship at 8-under-par.
Safely on the green in two, Ernst two-putted for par while Lynn couldn't get up and down out of the bunker and took bogey on the sudden-death playoff hole.
Ernst was the co-leader after the first round at 5-under-par, and he was fortunate to even be at Quail Hollow Club since he was the fourth alternate.
He followed up his first day with a 1 under 71 and even par 72 on Friday and Saturday before going 2 under on a wet Sunday.
Ernst made it to the playoff by getting in the clubhouse with a 70. He and Lynn watched as Phil Mickelson's putt from the fringe of 18 went long, sending the fan favorite home with a third-place finish.
Before Sunday, Ernst's best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for 41st in the Frys.com Open last year. He had made just two cuts before this weekend.
He was ranked 1,207th in the world on Sunday morning.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
It only took Derek Ernst one playoff hole to win his first ever PGA Tour event.
The Wells Fargo Championship will have two people in the playoff, and neither one of them is Phil Mickelson.
David Lynn and Derek Ernst will play in a sudden death playoff to determine the winner of the 2012 title at Quail Hollow Club after finishing the final round at 8-under-par.
Lynn birdied 14 and 16 while Ernst stuck his approach shot on 18 within five feet to birdie and go to 2 under on Sunday.
Mickelson was leading at 9 under through 14 holes but suffered back-to-back bogeys at 16 and 17. His attempt for birdie at 18 from the fringe behind the hole went past the hole and he saved par. Mickelson finished his day at 7 under and by himself in third place.
Last year’s Wells Fargo Championship also went to a playoff, with Rickie Fowler winning the three-player playoff with a birdie on 18 (the first hole.)
The biggest difference between the two playoffs will be the weather. Last year’s playoff was sunny and warm, but Lynn and Ernst will be dealing with the elements like they have for most of the weekend.
There’s a steady, substantial rain at Quail Hollow that’s been going since the final group was on the 15th.
1 p.m. update: Phil Mickelson continues to keep the field at bay as the Wells Fargo Championship begins to wind down at Quail Hollow Club.
Mickelson birdied the 14th hole (after nearly holing a chip for eagle) and is 9-under par, one stroke better than David Lynn and Ryan Moore. Moore had tied Mickelson briefly before Mickelson's birdie at 14. Lynn chipped in on No. 16 for a birdie and is at 8 under with Moore.
Lee Westwood, who was also tied with Mickelson briefly, bogeyed 12 and 13, but a birdie on No. 14 has him just two shots back with rookie Derek Ernst and Robert Karlsson.
Clemson's Kyle Stanley and Luke List have the low rounds of the day, 4-under par 68s.
The rain continues and appears to be picking up in intensity.
Noon update: Phil Mickelson is maintaining his slight lead at the Wells Fargo Championship, playing an even-par round through 10 holes and leading Charles Howell III, Lee Westwood, Ryan Moore and Charlotte's Robert Karlsson by one shot.
Westwood briefly tied Mickelson for the lead before bogeying No. 12.
The rain began to fall at about 9:30 a.m. and has maintained at a steady drizzle.
Howell is at 4-under for the day. Nick Watney, who began the day tied for the lead with Mickelson, is 2-over, thanks to bogeys on 6 and 8.
10 a.m. update: The rain has already started to fall here at Quail Hollow Club, and the final grouping only got through two holes without feeling the drops.
A few drops turned into a light rain at the No. 3 green, where Nick Watney took sole possession of the lead with a par after Phil Mickelson three-putted the par-4.
Watney is even par for the day and sits at 8-under-par through four holes while Mickelson is in second at 7 under. He's joined there by Lee Westwood, who birdied the par-5 5th after sticking his third shot within three feet of the pin.
Rory McIlroy, the 2010 Wells Fargo champion, birdied the par-5 7th and is also tied for second at 7 under.
9 a.m. update: The leaders have teed off at Quail Hollow. The rain has held off to this point.
Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney both parred No. 1, while George McNeill bogeyed and is now two back at 6 under.
Lee Westwood birdied the first hole and has third to himself at 7 under. Rory McIlroy got off to a shaky start, bogeying No. 1, but he birdied No. 3 and remains three behind.
7:20 a.m. update: The first threesome groups have begun play at the Wells Fargo Championship off the 1st and 10th tees at Quail Hollow Club.
The weather is gray, cool and breezy, with no rain -- as of yet.
The leaders tee it up at 8:46 a.m. -- Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney and George McNeill, who is one shot back.
We'll see how the weather plays out. PGA rules official Mark Russell said Saturday they will do whatever they can to get the round in.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Phil Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 at the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship and is tied for the lead with Nick Watney. Watney double-bogeyed the 17th and settled for a 71.
There’s a two-way tie at the top of the leader board at the Wells Fargo Championship after the third round.
Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney are tied at 8-under-par with George McNeill sitting alone in third place at 7 under.
Both Mickelson and Watney suffered double bogeys within the final four holes. Mickelson finished with a 7 at the par-5 15th while Watney shanked his tee shot at the par-3 17th and two-putted to drop two strokes.
Watney, playing in the next-to-last group with McNeill, carded a 71 on Saturday while Mickelson gave a stroke back after leading by two strokes entering the day.
Mickelson was 1 under on the day after the front nine but carded just two birdies on the back nine. He hit a fan with a shot on the par-4 16th and finished with a bogey.
McNeill’s par putt couldn’t find the hole on 18 and he finished with a bogey and a round of 72.
The low score of the day went to John Senden. He carded a 5-under-par 67 and is tied for fourth with six other players at 6 under.
Watney, Mickelson and McNeill will tee off at 8:45 a.m. Sunday. The tee times were bumped up and pairings made into trios in hopes of beating the bad weather forecast for Sunday afternoon.
- Jonathan Jones
3:30 update: A birdie on the eighth hole has given sole possession of the lead back to Phil Mickelson at the Wells Fargo Championship. Mickelson is 1-under for the day and 10-under for the tournament. That's two strokes ahead of Nick Watney and George McNeill.
Rory McIlroy made a brief run at the lead when he eagled the seventh hole. He gave those two strokes back on No. 9 with a double bogey, though. McIlroy is 6-under.
Scott Gardiner has bogeyed Nos. 8 and 9 and is now five back at 5-under.
2:25 p.m. update: Phil Mickelson bogeyed the third hole and Scott Gardiner birdied No. 1: that adds up to a tie for the lead between the two at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
Mickelson and Gardiner are at 8 under, a shot ahead of rookie Derek Ernst and Nick Watney. Ernst birdied No. 1, as did Watney (although he would bogey No. 2).
Rory McIlroy is even par today, two shots behind the leaders. He birdied No. 4, then bogeyed the par-5 fifth.
• Anticipating rainy weather, Sunday's final round of the Wells Fargo Championship will start earlier. Tee times will be from 6:45-8:45 a.m on the 1st and 10th tees, with players in threesomes. Television coverage will be taped and will be at the same time originally scheduled (1-2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m. on CBS).
• Ryan Moore has made an early move Saturday. He's birdied four of his first six holes and is 4-under for the day and 6-under for the tournament, three strokes behind leader Phil Mickelson. John Senden is also 4-under for the day through eight holes and is four behind Mickelson.
• Sunday's tee times
Friday, May 03, 2013
Phil Mickelson shot a 5-under 67 in Friday's second round of the Wells Fargo Championship to take a two-shot lead heading into the weekend. Lefty is looking to win his first PGA Tour event at Charlotte's Quail Hollow Club.
6 p.m. update: Phil Mickelson wrapped up a 5-under par round of 67 on Friday and leads the Wells Fargo Championship by two strokes.
Mickelson, who has never won at Quail Hollow, had six birdies and a bogey and is 9-under for the tournament. He leads a group that includes Scott Gardiner, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus and Derek Ernst at 7 under. Garrigus and Ernst are still on the course and have chances to catch Mickelson.
5:15 p.m. update: Another birdie at the 15th has given Phil Mickelson a one-shot lead over Robert Garrigus at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson is 5-under for the day and 9-under for the championship, a stroke better than Garrigus, who has birdied the 10th and 11th holes and is 3-under for the day.
Scott Gardiner and Nick Watney are two strokes back at 7-under and tied for third, while a large group, led by Rory McIlroy is at 6-under.
Another player to look out for is Sergio Garcia, who is also 5-under today and is now tied for 10th, four strokes behind Mickelson at 5-under for the tournament.
3:45 p.m. update: Phil Mickelson rolled in a 39-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole, giving him a one-shot lead Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Mickelson is 4-under par for the day and 8-under for the tournament, a stroke ahead of Scott Gardiner and Robert Garrigus, who is still on the course and 2-under for the day.
Mickelson began the day one stroke out of the lead, but started quickly with birdies on the first two holes. He had four birdies and no bogeys on the front nine.
Mickelson's round has been matched by Lee Westwood, who shot a 68 and is tied for fourth, two shots behind Mickelson at 6-under for the tournament.
1:45 p.m. update: Scott Gardiner, a PGA Tour rookie who is also the first aboriginal pro golfer, shot a 5-under par 67 Friday and leads the Wells Fargo Championship by one stroke.
Gardiner, who was born in Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia, has a two day total of 137, 7-under par.
Gardiner has a narrow lead over five others at 6 under, including Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Rod Pampling, Jason Kokrak and Phil Mickelson, who has opened his round with two consecutive birdies.
12:30 p.m. update: Scott Gardiner has gone to 5-under for the day and is the leader at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club at 7-under par.
After four consecutive birdies on the front nine, Gardner has been steady on the back, parring the first five, including a nice up-and-down on the 12th.
Rory McIlroy finished his round with a 1-under 71 and is tied for second one stroke behind Gardiner with Lee Westwood, Jason Kokrak and Rod Pampling. Westwood had been tied for the lead with Gardiner, but bogeyed No. 7.
Others near the top of the leader board who are due to tee off soon: Ryan Moore (12:55), Nick Watney (1:05), Boo Weekley (12:25) and Phil Mickelson (1:05).
11 a.m. update: Lee Westwood and Scott Gardiner are both at 4-under for the day and are tied for the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Gardiner has birdied three straight holes -- 6, 7 and 8 -- and shares the lead with Westwood at 6-under par, one stroke ahead of a huge (nine) group of players. Among them is Rory McIlroy, who is even for the day.
Vaughn Taylor, a Monday qualifier, is 3 under for the day and part of that logjam behind Westwood and Gardiner.
Gardiner is an Aussie who has just one top 25 finish this season and has missed eight straight cuts. Looks like that streak comes to an end Friday.
10 a.m. update: Russell Henley has three early birdies and has taken over sole possession of the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Henley birdied the first, third and seventh holes and is at 6-under par, a stroke ahead of Daniel Summerhays, Jason Kokrak, Ryan Moore, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus and Derek Ernst.
Rory McIlroy, who was part of a seven-way tie for first after Thursday's first round, is 2-over through his first nine and has dropped back to a tie for 16th at 3-under. Nate Smith, another of the first day's leaders, is 1-over for the day and is tied for eighth.
The weather has turned cloudy again after a sunny start; there are reports of a bit of rain out there.
Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 at the 1st round of the Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy is in a 7-way tie for the lead while Phil Mickelson is only 1 back. McIlroy discussed his opening round.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
There's quite a crowd atop the leader board at the Wells Fargo Championship as a chilly and soggy first round draws to a close at Quail Hollow Club.
Rory McIlroy, the tournament's 2010 champ who lost in a playoff last year to Rickie Fowler, is one of seven players tied for the top spot, with a 5-under 67. He's joined by Duke grad Nate Smith, Ryan Moore, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus, rookie Derek Ernst and Daniel Summerhays.
Six more are one shot back: Boo Weekley, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Streelman, Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover and Justin Kokrak.
Fowler shot an even-par 72 and is tied for 53rd.
There's a new leader at Quail Hollow: Daniel Summerhays birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to go to 6-under par and leads a group of six players by a stroke.
Summerhays had five birdies on the front nine to move into contention.
Rory McIlroy's birdie on 18 left him with a 5-under 67 for the day. He's tied for second with Ryan Moore, Nick Watney, Robert Garrigus, rookie Derek Ernst and former Duke player Nate Smith, who is still on the course.
Phil Mickelson leads a group of five players at 4-under.
Rookie Derek Ernst has joined Ryan Moore, Nick Watney and Robert Garrigus in a four-way tie for the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship. They all shot a five-under 67s and are one shot ahead of Boo Weekley, Phil Mickelson and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Rory McIlroy made four straight birdies on Nos. 5-8, but a bogey on No. 9 has him at 3 under.
Ernst only made the tournament field as a fourth alternate. A rookie who played at Nevada-Las Vegas, he had planned on playing a Web.com tournament in Athens, Ga., this week when he got the call to come to Charlotte. He finished in a tie for 47th at last week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans.
Nick Watney and Ryan Moore are the early leaders at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
Watney and Moore carded 5-under par 67s, while four golfers -- Boo Weekley, Phil Mickelson, Robert Garrigus and rookie Derek Ernst -- one back at 4-under.
Toughest hole of the day so far goes to Charlotte native and former Wake Forest golfer Bill Haas, who had a 9 on the par-5 seventh hole. -- David Scott
Monday, January 14, 2013
Nike made it official today in Abu Dhabi that Rory McIlroy has joined Team Swoosh, a move that became apparent late last year and was denied by no one.
The rumored numbers -- as high as $250 million over 10 years though others have said it's less than $200 million -- explain McIlroy's decision to join Tiger Woods on the Nike staff. It's a huge cost to Nike but the company landed the game's new superstar and locked him up long-term.
McIlroy leaves Titleist, which traditionally hasn't paid huge dollars to keep the game's top stars.
How good is the Nike equipment McIlroy will be using?
Good enough for him to feel comfortable about the change. If he feels good, that's what matters.
Here's a link to the new Rory/Tiger commercial released by Nike, a fun play on their relationship. That's a pretty strong twosome.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Eight Carolinas courses have landed spots in Golf Digest's prestigious list of the top 100 golf courses in the United States, four of them located in the North Carolina mountains.
Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey tops the new list followed by Augusta National Golf Club. To see the complete list go to
The Carolinas courses in the top 100 are:
No. 21: The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island
No. 22: Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers
No. 40: Pinehurst No. 2
No. 67: Eagle Point Golf Club, Wilmington
No. 89: Diamond Creek Golf Club, Banner Elk
No. 92: Mountaintop Golf Club, Cashiers
No. 96: Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island
No. 98: Grandfather Golf and Country Club, Linville.
I'm surprised that Pinehurst No. 2 isn't ranked higher, especially after the brilliant restoration work done by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. It's likely to jump after the U.S. Open is played there in 2014.
Tom Fazio's work around here is obviously respected. He designed Wade Hampton, Eagle Point, Diamond Creek and Mountaintop.
Obviously, this is a subjective ranking based on evaluation by a group experienced course raters. Solid cases for the inclusion of both Quail Hollow Club and Charlotte Country Club could be made.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
As expected, the USGA and R&A announced Wednesday that anchored strokes will no longer be allowed in golf effective Jan. 1, 2016.
The 20-word rule change means the end of anchoring belly putters and long putters to the body in the way PGA Tour players Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and others have done.
The rule does not outlaw the use of long putters, only prohibits how they are used.
“We believe a player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said.
The rules change came as a result of what Davis called a growing “advocacy” among players and instructors for the use of anchored putting strokes. Through 2010, Davis said approximately six percent of PGA Tour players used anchored putting strokes. That percentage jumped to 15 percent in 2012.
“For years, it was seen as a last resort,” Davis said. “We are seeing that golfers no longer see it as a stroke of last resort.”
Simpson, who won the U.S. Open using a belly putter last June, said this week that he plans to make the switch to a traditional putter in the future. He said expected the rules change and has been using a regular-length putter when he’s playing with his friends at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.