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Twenty-two-year-old PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst was headed for the Web.com event in Athens, Georgia on Monday morning when he received a phone call telling him he’d made it into the field at the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate.  Six days later, he flushed a 192-yard 6-iron to four feet at the 72nd hole, coolly drained the putt to tie England’s David Lynn at eight-under-par 280, then defeated Lynn on the first hole of sudden death to record one of the least likely victories in recent Tour memory.  But the entire week had an offbeat feel at the Quail Hollow Club as overcast, often rainy weather dominated and a set of rebuilt greens failed badly, prompting the absence of regular attendee Tiger Woods, among others.  It was also offbeat in that unlike many a maiden win, Ernst, a 2012 UNLV graduate, did Sunday battle with several very big names, most notably 54-hole co-leader Phil Mickelson, who also held a one-stroke lead with three to play before bogeying the 16th and 17th, then narrowly missing a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to tie.  Also falling by the wayside were world number two Rory McIlroy (one shot off the lead before double-bogeying the 12th, ultimately tying for 10th), Robert Karlsson (who needed a birdie to tie at the last, but bogeyed to share fourth), Lee Westwood (tied for the lead before making three bogeys over his last seven holes) and Nick Watney, who also shared the lead early before bogeying four of his final 13 holes.  Lynn, however, held it together, playing Quail Hollow’s tough closing threesome in a cumulative four-under-par for the week - but ultimately falling on the 18th when it served as the first playoff hole, where he lost to a regulation par.  Though Ernst had missed short birdie putts at the 14th and 16th coming home, he rallied to birdie the 18th when it was most needed, claiming his first PGA Tour victory in only his ninth career start...............A patient Brett Rumford waited nearly six years between his third and fourth European PGA Tour victories, but he would wait only seven days between his fourth and fifth.  Entering the final round of the Volvo China Open with a one-shot lead over Finland's Mikko Ilonen, the 35-year-old Perth native proceeded to birdie three of his first six holes to open up a comfortable lead, then added three more birdies at the 12th, 13th and 14th holes to build an insurmountable one.  Meaningless bogeys at the 15th and 17th were all that marred an otherwise flawless Sunday performance, with his closing 68 leaving him four clear of runner-up Ilonen (whose 71 was marred by three back nine bogeys) and five up on young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who posted weekend rounds of 66-68 over the long Binhai Lake layout.  First round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, who hung around the lead all week, came home in 69 to claim solo fourth.  For Rumford, who became the first Australian since Jack Newton in 1972 to claim back-to-back E Tour wins, the victory jumped him to 76th in the OWR, marking a climb of over 170 spots in two short weeks.  Also notable were the performances of two of China's cadre of young amateur stars, led by 16-year-old Ze-Cheng Dou, who first became the seventh youngest player in E Tour history to make a cut, then added rounds of 72-73 to finish T33.  Gaining even more attention, however, was 12-year-old qualifier Wo-Cheng Ye, who became the circuit's youngest-ever participant but missed the cut with room to spare after carding rounds of 79-79...............In a week which saw only two players break par for 72 holes over a short-but-difficult Nagoya Golf Club layout, 29-year-old Michio Matsumura carded weekend rounds of 69-67 to claim his third career Japan Tour victory at the 44th playing of The Crowns.  Beginning the final round two shots out of the lead, Matsumura climbed to the top with an outgoing 31, then balanced two birdies against a bogey and a double bogey coming home, his 278 aggregate being just enough to edge 21-year-old phenom Hideki Matsuyama (who sandwiched birdies at the 16th and 18th around a crucial bogey at the 17th) by a single stroke.  Third place was shared by 26-time Japan Tour winner Shingo Katayama (the 54-hole leader before closing with a disappointing 73) and Australian Steve Conran, who closed with rounds of 68 and 70.  In an event played here since its inception, Matsumura's winning total equaled Hirofume Miyasi's victorious score in 2007 - the highest aggregates since T.M. Chen's came home on 280 in 1983...............After beginning Sunday's final round one shot off the lead, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger closed with a near-flawless 67 to claim the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, edging Hall-of-Famer Ernie Els by a single stroke.  Around the lead all week, Wiesberger carded three 67s (plus a Friday 72) overall but was pursued doggedly by Els to the end.  Indeed, the reigning British Open champion matched Wiesberger's eagle at the 12th hole to remain one behind, fell two back when Wiesberger birdied the 16th, but ultimately failed to draw even at the par-5 18th, carding a birdie when an eagle was required.  Third-round leader Daisuke Kataoka took solo third after closing with a two-under-par 70, while Thai star Thonchai Jaidee road a Sunday 69 to solo fourth,  five shots off the pace...............Forty-seven-year-old James Kingston, three years removed from his last victory, holed a 12-foot par putt on the second hole of sudden death to defeat Ruan de Smidt and capture the Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open, his 11th career Sunshine Tour triumph.  In an event contested with Modified Stableford scoring, Kingston and the 23-year-old de Smidt both accumulated 45 points during regulation play, with Kingston doing so by carding 21 birdies and two eagles over 72 holes.  Tying for third, one point out the playoff, were Darryn Lloyd and Mark Williams, the former making a clutch birdie at the 71st hole to give himself a chance, then lipping out a potential winning chip at the 72nd and missing the three-footer coming back, losing a chance to make it a three-way playoff.  The event's 54-hole leaders struggled badly during Saturday's closing round, with 25-year-old Michael Hollick managing only a single point (ultimately tying for fifth with James Kamte) and 13-time Sunshine Tour winner Jean Hugo (who trailed Hollick by three) actually losing a point, to fall all the way to a T16.  

Posted on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 09:05PM by Registered CommenterDaniel | Comments Off