Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rookie's 'unbelievable' win as Mickelson stumbles on 'Green Mile'

May 5, 2013 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
Phil Mickelson reacts to missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow, which meant he missed a playoff .
Phil Mickelson reacts to missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow, which meant he missed a playoff .
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Derek Ernst wins Wells Fargo Championship in playoff against David Lynn
  • Veteran Phil Mickelson misses out on playoff after dropping late shots
  • World No. 2 Rory McIlroy finishes tied for 10th after second successive 73
  • Brett Rumford wins second successive European Tour event at China Open

(CNN) -- Phil Mickelson's hopes of a first victory since January were derailed by his struggles at "the Green Mile" on Sunday, as rookie Derek Ernst earned his maiden PGA Tour title in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship.

While four-time major winner Mickelson dropped shots at two of his final three holes, Ernst birdied his last to force a playoff with Englishman David Lynn -- which he won at the first hole.

It earned him the $1.17 million first prize and an invite to next week's $9.5 million Players Championship -- the golf season's unofficial "fifth major."

Ernst, who turns 23 on May 16, had made the cut in just two of his previous seven tournaments of his first season on the circuit, with a best finish of 47th in New Orleans last weekend.

The California native graduated from University of Nevada-Las Vegas last year with a degree in hotel management before turning pro.

Florida welcomes two new resorts
The toughest shot in golf?
Life on the road with Martin Kaymer
Lee Westwood's U.S. move

"This feeling is unbelievable right now," he told reporters. "Just at the beginning of the week not even knowing I was going to be in the field. I was fourth alternate last time I heard, and then a couple people dropped out so I got in."

Mickelson has won 41 times on the tour, and seemed set for his second victory this season despite dropping three shots at 15 and 16 in Saturday's third round.

The 42-year-old birdied 14 to be in contention but then again lost a shot at 16 to be in a three-way tie for the lead as the crowd sheltered under umbrellas in the wet conditions in South Carolina.

He then bogeyed 17 -- where he is now 14 over par in the 40 times he has played that hole -- and missed his birdie putt at 18 to card a one-over-par 73.

The last three holes at the Quail Hollow club are known as "the Green Mile" -- a stretch which is rated as one of the top-five hardest finishing runs on the PGA Tour in the past decade.

Mickelson racked up his seventh top-10 finish in 10 appearances at Wells Fargo, ending up one shot ahead of England's former world No. 1 Lee Westwood and Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who tied for fourth.

Lynn, 39, had also been seeking his first PGA Tour win, having finished in a tie for fourth at the Honda Classic in March -- and runner-up at last season's closing major, the PGA Championship.

He and Ernst had been three shots behind Mickelson going into the fourth round.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who won his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow in 2010, finished tied for 10th after carding a second successive 73.

The Northern Irishman bogeyed his first and last holes, and also picked up a double at the par-four 12th.

Meanwhile, Brett Rumford completed his second successive victory on the European Tour's Asian swing with a four-shot victory at the China Open on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Australian followed up his playoff win from last weekend's Ballantine's Championship in South Korea as he carded five birdies in the first 10 holes of his final round.

It put him top of the Race to Dubai standings, having been 138th two weeks ago.

"It's quite surreal -- it's the first time I've actually played the week after a win so I'm more than pleased. It's hard to get my head around it at the moment," Rumford said.

Finland's Mikko Ilonen was second, having started the fourth round one shot behind Rumford.

Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa tied for 33rd in a group including 16-year-old Dou Zecheng -- who was the best finisher of the group of young Chinese talent in the field.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT