Golf | Grillo captures Open

Napa – Rookie Emiliano Grillo sank a birdie
putt on the second playoff hole to outlast Kevin Na and claim his first USPGA
Tour title in the season-opening Open on Sunday.

The 23-year-old from Argentina, who earned
his PGA Tour card just two weeks ago by winning the Tour Championship,
fired a three-under 69 – draining a long birdie putt on the 72nd hole to set up
the playoff.

Grillo, already being touted as rookie of
the year contender, won in his first tournament as a card-carrying tour member.
His previous appearances on the US Tour came through sponsor’s invitations.

“I was just really focused on my putt
and I hit a great putt to win,” said Grillo, who had showed he could
compete on the big stage before, losing in a playoff to Alex Cejka of Germany
in the Puerto Rico Open and tying for 10th in the Barbasol Championship.

Grillo had a three-foot putt for the win on
the first playoff hole but his ball just caught the left edge and stayed out.

“I hit this one good. I don’t know
what happened,” he said. “My caddie asked me on the next tee ‘Are you
OK?’ I said I am.”

He and Na both parred the hole so that sent
them back to the tee off the par-five 18th again to try and decided the winner.

American Na hit a nice tee shot, but he
chose to go with a driver off the fairway and hooked it behind a tree. That
left him with a tricky approach shot from the rough.

He managed to avoid the tree, but his ball
sailed past the hole and landed on the other side of the green. His first putt
also went long, opening the door for Grillo to win it with a birdie.

Na said he has no regrets about his choice
of clubs.

“I hit five or six drivers off the
deck this week. It was dark and it is a lot tougher, the ball was above my
feet. Maybe I should have used a three wood but if I were to do it all over
again I would hit driver,” Na said.

Na shot a two-under 70 in regulation to
finish tied with Grillo at 15-under 273.

Third place finisher Tyrone Van Aswegen, of
South Africa, shot one of the best rounds of the day at four-under 68 despite
starting his morning in a California hospital. He finished tied with Justin
Thomas and Jason Bohn who shot 69 and 70 respectively.

Van Aswegen awoke feeling sick and was
taken by ambulance to a hospital where doctors told him he was suffering from
dehydration. He was treated with intravenous fluids and released just in time
to make his tee time – benefitting from a 20-minute fog delay.

“I woke up and the room was
spinning,” he said. “I had some serious dizziness. I was not in good

“They filled me with two bags of
fluids and said I had severe dehydration and vertigo.

“I was trying to speed them along. I
was still in the hospital an hour before my tee time.”

England’s Justin Rose (72), South Africa’s
Charl Schwartzel (68), Patrick Rodgers (70) and Kyle Reifers (72) shared sixth
place on 276.

Brendan Steele, who led through the first
three rounds, struggled mightily Sunday and finished tied for 17th after
shooting a disappointing four-over 76.

World number three Rory McIlroy shot a
three-under 69 for a nine-under 279, six strokes off the pace.

Leading final-round scores on Sunday in the $6 million USPGA Tour Open (x-won at 2nd playoff hole, USA unless noted, par 72):

273 – x-Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 68-71-65-69, Kevin Na 68-71-64-70

274 – Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA) 69-68-69-68, Justin Thomas 66-70-69-69, Jason Bohn 72-68-64-70

276 – Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71-68-69-68, Patrick Rodgers 68-69-69-70, Justin Rose (ENG) 67-69-68-72, Kyle Reifers 68-71-65-72

– Chris Stroud 69-69-71-68, Ryan Moore 72-70-67-68, Smylie Kaufman
68-72- 69-68, Luke Guthrie 71-70-66-70, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN)
64-71-69-73, Will Wilcox 68-67-69-73, Andrew Loupe 68-72-63-74

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