Grillo birdies second playoff hole at Colonial for first PGA Tour victory
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Emiliano Grillo could only watch as his ball kept floating and rolling back toward the No. 18 tee after his wayward shot into the flowing water of a small concrete drainage canal. That mishit on the 72nd hole at Colonial cost him his two-stroke lead, but he still got his first PGA Tour victory in more than 7 1/2 years.
Grillo curled in a 5-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, the 186-yard 16th hole where he had taken the solo lead before needing a playoff Sunday. Grillo and Adam Schenk, who both finished at 8-under 272, had two-putt pars from 26 feet at No. 18 to start the playoff.
A 20-foot birdie at No. 16 in regulation had Grillo up by two strokes before his tee shot at No. 18.
“I've done it before. I’ve hit the exact same shot to the right of the tree," he said. "When I saw one of the marshals walk right of the tree, I knew it was going to be a long wait until that ball stopped. ... It stopped for like five, 10 seconds at one moment. I actually thought I got lucky. Then five seconds later, the ball kept moving.”
The ball finally came to rest against a rock in the middle of the flow about 150 yards downstream. Grillo took a penalty stroke with a drop where the ball had entered the canal, and had to set his ball on the concrete. His approach was short of the green, and he two-putted from about 20 feet for double bogey to drop to 8 under.
“One bad swing all day,” he said.
It was the second PGA Tour win for Grillo, the 30-year-old from Argentina whose only other win was at the Frys.com Open in Napa in October 2015. He had four other top-10 finishes this season. He had a closing 2-under 68.
Along with a $1.566 million check, plaid jacket and fully restored 1973 Bronco vehicle, the win at Hogan's Alley pretty much set Grillo up for all four majors. He now is set for the Masters and PGA Championship next year, and is in line for this year's U.S. Open and British Open after moving from 80th to 42nd in World Golf Ranking.
PGA Tour rookie Harry Hall, in the final group with Schenk, bogeyed the final hole after his drive into the water to miss getting in the playoff. He finished tied for third at 7-under with local favorite Scott Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world who had a hole-in-one at the 189-yard 8th hole during his closing 67.
Schenk, the 31-year-old Indiana native in his 171st PGA Tour event, got his second runner-up finish of the season. He’s still seeking his first victory after a 72 playing in the final group Sunday.
After making his only birdie with an 8-footer at No. 16, Schenk was at the 17th tee when he saw someone down by the flowing water.
“I couldn’t see who it was. I didn’t look too hard. I knew Emiliano was a couple shots ahead,” Schenk said. “I had so much to worry about on 17."
Schenk made par out of a greenside bunker at No. 17, then another par at No. 18 when his birdie putt that would have won it came up just short.
“If he would have hit it a little bit firmer, it would have gone in," Grillo said. “The story would have been a little bit different. He would have been sitting here probably an hour earlier, but that’s golf.”
Grillo's tee shot at No. 16 in the playoff landed on the right side of the green, rolled off the slope and stopped about five feet to the left of the hole. Schenk drove into the rough behind the hole, though had an impressive pitch shot.
Grillo had four birdies and two bogeys on his first seven holes Sunday, but caught up to the lead with a 17-foot birdie at the 435-yard 12th hole. After being part of the lead Saturday he had a double bogey and two bogeys over his last six holes.
Hall, a 25-year-old Englishman, was the solo leader after the first and second round. Tied with Schenk to start the final round, Hall got started with consecutive birdies to drop to 12 under, but those were his only birdies in a closing 73.
Scheffler was the Colonial runner-up last year after losing to Sam Burns on the first playoff hole. When Scheffler’s tee shot at No. 8 took a couple of bounces and rolled into the cup, he was 7 under. But he was even the rest of the way, with a birdie at the 10th and bogey on the par-3 16th.
“I made a few today, but overall I probably lost a few strokes on the greens, which is frustrating," Scheffler said. "For a weekend where I really struggled with the putter, to give myself still a chance to win was nice.”
It was Scheffler’s second career ace. The first came in his PGA Tour debut as a 17-year-old at the 2014 Byron Nelson in his hometown of Dallas.
Harris English had a hole-in-one at No. 8 on Friday, when the hole was playing at 170 yards. Before that, no one had aced that hole since Jim Furyk in 2011.
English played with Hall in the final group during the third round, but had dropped out of a share of the lead when he bogeyed his final hole Saturday. He had four bogeys over six holes to finish his front nine Sunday, staring with three in a row on Nos. 4-6, on way to shooting 76 to finish tied for 12th.
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