Golf: Rookie Ernst ends storybook week with playoff win

2013-05-06T00:00:00Z Golf: Rookie Ernst ends storybook week with playoff winThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One phone call changed his plans. One shot changed a whole lot more for Derek Ernst, who won his first PGA Tour title in only his ninth event.

Six days after Ernst received a call that he was in the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate, the 22-year-old rookie found himself one shot out of the lead and 192 yards away on the 18th hole, the toughest at Quail Hollow, in the cold, wind and rain of a nasty final round.

Ernst choked up on a 6-iron and hit a draw that landed 4 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 England's David Lynn, who had a 70. Returning to the 18th in the playoff, as it rained harder, Ernst hit a 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the flag to set up his unlikely win.

Ernst 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 phone call to head to Quail Hollow.

"This feeling is unbelievable right now," he said.

Phil Mickelson had a one-shot lead with three holes to play until making back-to-back bogeys, missing putts of 6 feet and 10 feet. His 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th narrowly missed, and Mickelson closed 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.

Champions Tour

THE WOODLANDS, Texas - After starting seven strokes behind, Esteban Toledo, 50, celebrated Cinco de Mayo by becoming the first Mexican winner in Champions Tour history, beating Mike Goodes with a par on the third hole of a playoff in the Insperity Championship.

Toledo eagled No. 1 and shot a 5-under 67 to match Goodes and Gene Sauers at 6-under 210. Goodes shot a 72, and Sauers - out after the second playoff hole - had a 74.

LPGA Tour

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.- Cristie Kerr made a short par putt on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Suzann Pettersen on Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the third time.

The victory was the 16th of Kerr's career, and her third in five career playoffs. Kerr shot a 2-under 69, and Pettersen had a 67 to finish at 12-under 272.

Chip shots

• Brett Rumford won the China Open in Ianjin by four strokes to become the first Australian in 41 years to capture consecutive European Tour titles.

• Austria's Bernd Wiesberger took the Asian Tour's Indonesian Masters in Jakarta, closing with a 5-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over South African star Ernie Els.

• Ex-Georgia star Brendon Todd won the Web.com Tour's Stadion Classic by one stroke over Tim Wilkinson when rain cancelled the fourth round in Athens, Ga.

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