Despite disappointments, Grillo secures TOUR card
September 20, 2015
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- With this T2 effort at River Run, Emiliano Grillo moves to No. 3 in the Finals money list. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Emiliano Grillo nearly earned his PGA TOUR card at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year.
Grillo bogeyed the par-5 18th hole in regulation that Sunday, then fell in a five-man playoff won by Alex Cejka. The victory would have secured Grillo’s TOUR card right then and there.
The 23-year-old Argentina native returned to the European Tour, where he has pieced together a strong season – good enough to stand No. 103 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering this week’s Small Business Connection Championship, the second of four Web.com Tour Finals events.
The positive of Grillo’s disappointing finish in Puerto Rico: it helped him earn enough non-member FedExCup points to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals, providing another opportunity to earn a TOUR card for the first time.
Grillo took advantage of that opportunity this week at River Run Country Club in Davidson. He finished tied for second at 14 under, one stroke back of winner Chez Reavie. The finish assures Grillo a place inside the top 25 on the Web.com Tour Finals money list, earning him a PGA TOUR card for the 2015-16 season.
“This is what I came for,” said Grillo outside the River Run clubhouse on Sunday afternoon, in between bites of a sandwich and chips. “Top-10 last week, and another top-10 here, and I finally got my PGA TOUR card for next year.
“If you were to tell me at the beginning of the week that I would finish second, I would’ve taken it.”
Grillo finished solo ninth at last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship, a strong start in his quest for a TOUR card – but leaving work to be done. He had three remaining Finals events to secure his card, but he leaves nothing to chance after his performance at River Run – where he ranked T4 in greens in regulation and 13th in putts per green in regulation.
As was the case in Puerto Rico, though, Grillo was bummed about his finish – again on a par 5.
Grillo hit the green in two on River Run’s par-5 18th hole, needing two putts to force a playoff with Reavie. He sent his eagle putt 15 feet past the hole, and then missed the birdie try.
“I’m very disappointed about today,” said Grillo. “I felt it was pretty easy to win out there today, and I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get my first real victory.”
In the grand scheme, though, Grillo was content. He moves to No. 3 on the Finals money list, putting him in strong position to chase down Reavie and Henrik Norlander (winner of last week’s Hotel Fitness Championship) for the top spot.
If he can win the Finals money list, Grillo will secure fully exempt status on TOUR next season and a spot in the 2016 PLAYERS Championship.
“I’m going to try again next week, and the week after,” said Grillo, as he prepared to hit the road for next week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio. “I’m going to try and finish as high as possible.”