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Think Young, Play Hard

Think Young, Play Hard: Derek Ernst

Derek Ernst won his first PGA Tour event in his ninth try. What's next?

Think Young, Play Hard: Derek Ernst

Derek Ernst

Age: 23 | Born: Woodland, Calif.
Residence: Las Vegas | Career: Won the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship, in just his ninth career PGA Tour start, by outplaying third-round co-leaders Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney, before beating David Lynn in a sudden-death playoff. Ernst won four college tournaments while at UNLV and made it to the PGA Tour last year by advancing through four stages of Q school (including pre-qualifying). He lost in the final of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links but made a hole-in-one on Bandon Trails' par-4 eighth hole during his bid for the title.
March 2014

ON WINNING THE WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP AS A ROOKIE
Phil Mickelson was three shots ahead by the time I stepped up to 18. Next thing I knew, Phil bogeyed two holes, and I birdied 18 and got into a playoff and won. To think I won where Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy got their first tour wins. And I played with Lee Westwood. It makes you feel good to win against a field like that.

ON STRUGGLING BEFORE THAT WIN
I had missed five straight cuts and was trying to be someone that I'm not. Trying to control everything on the course. I felt like I had to do everything just right or I wouldn't have a chance out here. It really screwed me up for a while.

ON THE TURNAROUND
I realized what got me here is what's going to keep me here. I started thinking about only one shot at a time and not worrying about everything else. It freed me up to play like I'm capable of playing.

ON MAUI'S BIG SURF
I came to Maui for the first time in January for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. It's great there. Guys like Adam Scott can surf, but I'm not going to break my neck on those waves.

ON LIVING IN LAS VEGAS
I'm nothing like the city. I just went to school [UNLV] there. I've never gambled in Vegas, and I never will. I figure if I start, I might get hooked.

ON HIS PASSION FOR THE DRUMS
I have my own set, and I can play to almost any song.

ON BAD ADVICE
In high school, the music teacher said I should join the marching band because I was getting good at the drums. I said, "OK, but I have golf practice." She said "Really? How far do you think you're going to get in golf?" I looked at her and said, "How far do you think I'm going to get in the marching band?" So much for the band.

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