The importance of Wells Fargo Championship week cannot be overstated for Derek Ernst.
The TOUR rookie, without a top-40 finish to his credit coming in, started the week as a fourth alternate and left it as a TOUR champion whose season, career and life had changed.
Ernst, who said his goal this season was to finish inside the FedExCup top 125 to gain job security for another year, now has a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR and, at 32nd in the latest standings, is in position to make a run at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola with a chance to claim golf’s richest prize.
“This feeling is unbelievable right now,” Ernst said after his victory. “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.
“It's a little sunk in, but I'm sure in a couple days it will be even more unbelievable than it is right now.”
Ernst’s journey from T196 to the brink of the top 30 wasn’t the only FedExCup boost we saw at Quail Hollow. Robert Karlsson, off to a slow start with no top-25s and four missed cuts in his first six starts, tied for fourth at the Wells Fargo to move to 140th in the latest standings. He’s now knocking on the door of the top 125 and a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Ross Fisher and Vaughn Taylor made jumps inside the top 125 while Bo Van Pelt notched his first top-10 finish of the 2013 campaign to pull himself inside the FedExCup top 100.
Taking the steepest hits, and dropping outside the top 125 this week, were Ben Curtis and Camilo Villegas. Both missed the cut at Quail Hollow but have a chance to get back on track this week at THE PLAYERS, where each has recorded a top-3 finish.
Below are the biggest movers, both up and down, following the Wells Fargo Championship.