March 22, 2018
Catching Up With Derek Ernst
By Gary McCormick, NCGA Contributor
It’s been quite a journey for former Clovis resident Derek Ernst. Prior to and during his time as a four-time All-American at UNLV, Ernst further honed his skills by competing in NCGA tournaments.
In 2013 all of his efforts paid off, as he’d win his first PGA Tour title at the Wells Fargo Championship as an alternate. He’d skyrocket to 123rd in the Official World Golf Rankings, but following the 2016 season he’d lose his PGA Tour card.
Since then, the Woodland native has bounced back-and-forth, competing on the Web.com Tour and in some PGA Tour events via conditional status.
Q: How did your days playing in NCGA events help your prepare for your professional career?
Derek Ernst: Anytime you can play any tournaments growing up is good; tournaments in general are good, and that’s what was around. Doing JGNC and NCGA amateur stuff was really good.”
Q: Bobby Jones said he never learned anything from a tournament that he won. You had a tough runner-up loss 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Is there anything that you remember taking away from that loss?
Ernst: I remember making a hole-in-one on a par-four that week. I don’t know – it was a good week. It felt like I won – we went 37 holes out of the 36-hole event; so we played 37 holes in one day, so I came really close to winning. What I learned was that I can compete up there with the great players and win golf tournaments because I came so close then. I ended up winning a tournament two years later on the PGA Tour.
Q: What’s your favorite memory from that 2013 Wells Fargo Championship victory?
Ernst: I was just lucky enough to be in the tournament, and took advantage of the opportunity I had; I just very blessed. It was like here (Ernst competed in the AT&T Pro-Am). I was in Bogota on Monday, and flew all day Tuesday and now I’m here – it was kind of the same deal.
Q: What are your goals for the 2018 season?
Ernst: Get a PGA Tour card. That’s it.