In This Article
Clutch putts validate Grillo’s self-belief
The Frys.com Open champion learned from a nightmare to bring about a dream come true in Napa
October 18, 2015
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Emiliano Grillo is two weeks removed from winning the Web.com Tour Championship. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
NAPA, Calif. -- A few observations following the final round of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season-opening Frys.com Open, where Emiliano Grillo defeated Kevin Na on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. For more on all the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-Up.
THINGS TO KNOW
1. Earlier this year, Emiliano Grillo missed a short putt to win in Puerto Rico and went on to lose in a playoff. Sunday, he made the most of a second chance, sinking a 9-footer for birdie on the second hole of sudden death to beat Kevin Na.
So much for scar tissue. It was the second time in three weeks the 23-year-old rookie from Argentina made a clutch putt.
At the Web.com Tour Championship two weeks ago, he sank a 25-foot birdie on the final hole to win. This time, he earned his first victory in his first start on the PGA TOUR and with it earned a trip the Masters next April.
“You say Masters, I can’t believe it,” said Grillo, who shot a 3-under 69 Sunday. “This is awesome.
“There is no words to put in to explain this. This is the greatest moment of my life golf-wise.”
It came after one of the worst. After the putt in Puerto Rico, Grillo said he suffered nightmares.
“I couldn't sleep for a week,” he said. “It was one of the most painful times of my life, that's for sure.”
Sunday was one of the most joyous -- even if he also missed a 3-footer to win on the first extra hole. It didn’t rattle him.
Playing the 18th for a second time in the playoff, Grillo laid up from a fairway bunker and hit his third inside 10 feet.
“I stayed positive,” he said. “I learned a lot from the one in Puerto Rico. My caddie asked me was I 100 percent and I said yes. I want to win it. You know how they say it, third time is charm.
“Most important than the win was the putt on the last hole. Made me believe that I can hole putts on the last hole. You know, I did it then; did it twice today on the last hole basically. You know, makes you believe you can do it. That’s huge.”
2. DRIVER OFF THE DECK: Kevin Na said he hit five or six drivers off the deck during the week. None was worse than the one he caught heavy and badly hooked on the second hole of the sudden-death playoff on Sunday.
With Grillo in a bunker off the tee it looked like Na, who was in the fairway 269 yards from the flag on the par-5 18th, had the advantage. Instead, he ended up in the left rough and between the trees 75 yards short of the green. He went on to make bogey.
“I've hit it perfect every time,” Na said of his previous attempts. “The driver is the only club that's going to get me far enough right, past the front, where I can have an aim to win.
“I hit it all the time. I was very confident. Only thing is it was dark. It’s a lot tougher. The ball was above my feet. Maybe I should have hit 3-wood. If I were to go to do it over again I probably would still hit driver.”
It was a bittersweet ending for the 32-year-old with one TOUR victory (2011). He birdied four of the last six holes to get into the playoff after playing his first 11 holes Sunday in 2 over, but it was the third time he has lost in extra holes.
3. NERVES GET TO BOHN. Na wasn’t the only one to let a big opportunity slip away.
Jason Bohn took the lead at 15 under with a birdie on the par-3 15th only to give it right back one hole later. Leading by a stroke on the par-5 16th and 50 yards from the hole he chunked his third shot before hitting to 8 feet and two-putting for bogey.
“Maybe a little bit of nerves,” Bohn said. “I was fairly focused on 16 there where I just kid of laid the sod over it and chunked it. Kind of really throws a shock into the mind because you know you’re not thinking anything like that. ... Kind of rattled me a bit.”
4. TOUGH FINISH FOR STEELE. Brendan Steele began the day with a one-shot lead. Despite a wild first eight holes in which he made three bogeys, the California native found himself back atop the leaderboard after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 9 and 10.
Then he got to the back nine.
Steele made five bogeys over his final seven holes to close in 40. After holding the lead following each of the first three rounds and shooting 63 on Thursday, Steele stumbled home with a 76 and tumbled all the way to 17th.
5. HEADS OF THE CLASS. How good is golf’s high school class of 2011?
It includes two-time major champion and Player of the Year Jordan Spieth, Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger, Justin Thomas, Patrick Rodgers, Ollie Schneiderjans and Grillo, who attended the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, before turning pro the same year.
Spieth and Thomas were among the first to congratulate Grillo after the tournament, with Spieth tweeting that it would be the first of many wins for the Argentinian and Thomas making this joke ...
Hey @GrilloEmiliano, go back to Europe.. You win too much over here. Congrats bro! Happy for you— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) October 19, 2015
QUOTE OF THE DAYThey said the word ‘Masters’ twice today. You see this (smile)? That is what I’m going to do ever single time you say ‘Masters.’ It's unbelievable.
CALL OF THE DAY
Dennis Paulson of PGA TOUR Radio calls Emiliano Grillo's birdie on No. 18 to win in a playoff against Kevin Na at the Frys.com Open.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Emiliano Grillo's dramatic birdie putt is the Shot of the Day