LA QUINTA, Calif. (December 3, 2012) -- In 2008, Derek Ernst won the amateurgolf.com Diablo Valley Amateur. Now, like Spencer Levin before him, this past champion on the Amateurgolf.com Tour can call the PGA Tour home.
Monday's historic day at La Quinta marked the final time that 25 players would earn full Tour status; the new Q School will only provide access to the Web.com Tour. And Ernst, from Clovis, Calif., who entered Round 6 at 21-under and in third place, took full advantage of it.
It's never over until it's over, as Edward Loar cruelly learned after a double-double finish and final round 78 pushed him out of the top 25. Ernst, sitting at 1-over for his final round and 20-under for the tournament, faced the island green 17th and water-guarded par-4 18th with not many strokes to spare, and he played them well.
"The 17th is hyped to be much harder than it really is," said Ernst after the round. "I mean, it's only 150 yards. I hit a soft cut 8-iron to be safe and it worked out fine."
Having made his 2-putt par on 17, Ernst's final task was hitting two solid shots on 18, and a 3-wood down the right side set up a safe approach shot to the light rough just off the front of the green. He chipped to five feet, and although his par putt lipped out, it didn't matter. Congratulations from friends and family, a quick word from PGA Tour officials, and interview with the Golf Channel, was next.
Amateurgolf.com wishes Derek the best on his 2013 campaign.