Derek Ernst won the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship ranked 1,207th in the Official World Golf Ranking. To date, it is his only top-25 finish in 61 career PGA Tour starts. He's in line for a second win on Sunday at the 2015 Valspar Championship, trailing Ryan Moore by two shots, which is the same margin by which Ernst trailed Phil Mickelson heading into Round 4 at Quail Hollow.
Ernst is easily the biggest fluke1 winner on the PGA Tour in the last 25 years. Take a look at some of the comparisons, and they're not even close:
Chris Couch, 2006 Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Couch, whose zany week to win in NOLA was documented in the book "The Scorecard Always Lies," isn't even in the Ernst realm of fluke. In 186 career PGA Tour starts, he has eight top-10 finishes, including three in 2011 for some reason.
Wes Short Jr., 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas: Short is closer to Ernst than most on this list. In 2005, he won and had another top-10 in 16 starts. He played 33 times the next year, missing 19 cuts, then pretty much never showed up on the PGA Tour again. In 93 career PGA Tour starts, however, Short still has seven top-25 finishes. However, Short won on the Champions Tour last year, marking 19 years between wins.
Andre Stolz, 2004 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas: Stolz, another Aussie, came and went like a shooting star on the PGA Tour. He won in 2004 and played just 12 times in 2005 because of a wrist injury that delayed his career some three years. Aside from his one win, he has another top-10 finish in 36 career PGA Tour starts. He hasn't played on the PGA Tour since 2013, but he did win the OneAsia money title in 2011
Craig Perks, 2002 Players Championship: Perks was 256th in the OWGR when he made everything from off the green to secure his only PGA Tour win. However, Perks, who really only played six full PGA Tour seasons, had seven top-10 finishes and 15 top-25 finishes in 202 career PGA Tour starts, getting into the top 25 almost 10 percent of the time. Not as big of a fluke as you think.
Michael Clark II, 2000 John Deere Classic: Clark II is a memory from the turn of the millennium. He won in 2000, his first full year on Tour, then never again. He had a five-year run on Tour, whose end was precipitated by a 2002 season where he missed 19 of 33 cuts. He posted three other top-10 finishes and 15 total top-25 efforts in 144 career PGA Tour starts.
So who would be considered the biggest fluke multi-time PGA Tour winners of the last 25 years? Is that even a real term? Well, we have no potential candidates. If Ernst wins on Sunday, he'll be the first.
1Before you embarrass yourself and send me an email, tweet or other message mad about the use of the word "fluke," think for a minute. Colloquially, we all use the word "fluke" to describe things we don't expect to happen. If you choose to use the words unexpected or surprise, then that's fine; read it that way. Either way, the use of those words is relative. It is very difficult to reach, much less win on, the PGA Tour. A victory is a big deal.
THAT WAS FUN, RIGHT?!
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