One tournament, one victory. Not bad for Emiliano Grillo's rookie season.
The 23 year old from Argentina, fresh off his victory at the Web.com Tour Championship, fired a final round 69, including a birdie on the final hole, to get into a playoff with Kevin Na. It took him two playoff holes, but Grillo ended up walking away with a victory at the Frys.com Open.
It took Grillo one hole longer than it should have. On the first playoff hole, Grillo had inside of five feet to put away the victory. He missed the putt, and he and Na replayed the 18th. Na, however, made a mess out of the second playoff hole, and Grillo hit his third shot on an aggressive line. Grillo would only need par to win the tournament. He would birdie.
"I miss a short putt. I don't know what happened." Grillo said when asked about his miss in the first playoff hole. "My caddy asked me if I was ok, and I was like 'sure.' I stayed positive."
Grillo becomes the first player to win in his first event of his rookie year since Russell Henley in 2013. Grillo came close to winning last year. He played the Puerto Rico Open as a non-member, but lost in a playoff.
Grillo's victory not only secures his PGA Tour card for two years, but it also gives him an invitation into The Masters, something that was on his mind entering the season.
"You say "Masters", and I can't believe it. This is awesome. After I got my card after the Web.com Championship, I knew I was somewhere around 70 (in the world), and I thought if I could get inside the top 50, maybe we could get into (the Masters)."
Kevin Na, looking for his second PGA Tour victory, struggled to begin his final round. After a birdie on the first, he would bogey holes 4, 7 and 8 to drop down the leaderboard. He was an afterthought entering the back nine, but birdies on four of his last six holes would allow him to shoot a final round 70. Na will be disappointed in how he played in the playoff, but beginning the season with a runner up finish is always a good way to start.
Jason Bohn had the opportunity to take control of the tournament after a birdie on 16. He had a one shot lead and hit a massive drive down the middle of the fairway into the par 5. He chunked his second shot, however, and was unable to get up and down from in front of the green. He would bogey. Two holes later, needing a birdie to get into a playoff, Bohn rocketed his second shot into the par five far left and into the hospitality area. He would hit a good recovery shot and have a putt for birdie, but it was unable to fall. Bohn is still seeking his first victory in five years, and third in his career. He has had a bunch of close calls the past couple of seasons.
Tying Bohn at T3 was Justin Thomas, who continues to amaze with his spectacular game. As a rookie on the PGA Tour last season, Thomas had more top 10's (six) than missed cuts (five). The only thing missing from Thomas' resume now is a victory, but it is doubtful that we will have to wait long for that to happen.
The third player inside the top 5 is the one who is likely to gain the most from his position - Tyrone Van Aswegen. The South African was a rookie on the PGA Tour last season, but he had a very disappointing season, failing to register a single top 10 finish and missing 11 cuts. He played on the Web.com Tour Finals, and after three poor events, he looked to be on his way to losing his PGA Tour privileges for the 2015-2016 season. His T5 at the Web.com Tour Championship gave him just enough to earn his card, and his T3 finish this week will go a long way to helping secure his playing future.
Charl Schwartzel will be looking back on Thursday morning wondering "what if". Before he began the tournament, Schwartzel was hit with a two stroke penalty for not being on the teeing grounds before his tee time. He was just off the tee box when his round was set to begin. It was a two stroke penalty, the exact amount of strokes Schwartzel finished behind the playoff. Still, it is a positive performance for Schwartzel, who flew all the way from Korea last week to participate in the tournament. Schwartzel was sick to begin the Presidents Cup, but he looks 100% now.
Tied with Schwartzel was Justin Rose, who played well all week, but struggled down the stretch. He was only able to shoot an even par final round on a day where birdies were able to be made. A top 10 finish is a good start for the 7th ranked player in the world.
Patrick Rodgers also finished T6. Rodgers earned his card through the non-member list last season after finishing inside the top 5 twice. He also finished 24th on the Web.com Tour money list despite not playing on that Tour the second half of the season. Rodgers is not considered a rookie, as he played too many events on Tour last season, but this was his first event as a full member.
The final player at T6 was Kyle Reifers, who is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. The 32 year old lost in a playoff at the Barracuda Championship last year, which kept him from having to return to the Web.com Tour. Reifers already has half the top 10 finishes this season as he had all of last season.
World Number Three Rory McIlroy started the event with a 68 to be in contention, but back to back 71's put him out of contention. He finished T26.