Grillo tops Na in playoff to win Open

By Nick MentaOctober 19, 2015, 12:29 am

In his first start as a member of the PGA Tour, Emiliano Grillo edged Kevin Na on the second extra hole to win the Open in a playoff. Here's what went down in overtime in Napa:

Leaderboard: Grillo (-15), Na (-15), Tyrone Van Aswegen (-14), Justin Thomas (-14), Jason Bohn (-14)

What it means: This is the rookie’s first PGA Tour victory (eighth career start) and second win in the last three weeks after claiming the Tour Championship. The 23-year-old Argentine is only the third player in the last 15 years to win in his first official start, joining Henrik Stenson (2007) and Russell Henley (2013). Two back to start the final round, Grillo made six birdies against three bogeys and poured in a 24-foot putt on the final green to shoot 3-under 69 and get to 15 under. He appeared to have the event won on the first extra hole but missed a 4-foot birdie putt, prompting a third trip down 18. The miss was eerily reminiscent of what happened to him at the Puerto Rico Open last March, when he missed a short par putt on the 72nd hole that would have won him the tournament. On the third extra hole, he proved the last man standing after Na made a sloppy bogey, leaving Grillo two putts for victory. He only needed one. With the win, Grillo secures 500 FedEx Cup points, membership through the 2017-18 season and an invite to next year’s Masters and PGA.

Best of the rest: Na was 2 over for his round through 11 holes but birdied four of his final six, including the par-5 18th, to force a playoff. After surviving to the second extra hole thanks to Grillo's miss, Na for the second time on Sunday tried hitting driver off the deck into the green and snap-hooked it into the left rough, leaving himself in a difficult spot with Grillo staring at birdie. Na played a tricky shot through a hole in a tree to reach the back of the green, ran his chip past the hole and missed a putt for par, ending his chances. Behind him, three players – Van Aswegen, Thomas, and Bohn – finished one shot out of the playoff. Van Aswegen birdied two of his last three holes, Thomas lipped out a birdie try on 18, and Bohn failed to get up and down from atop a dining table in a hospitality tent on the home hole.

Biggest disappointment: Two up to start the day, Steele lost the lead, regained it and then imploded. The 18-, 36- and 54-hole leader made eight bogeys, including five down the stretch from Nos. 12-17, to shoot a final-round 76, finish 10 under, and tie for 17th.

Round of the day: On a tougher day for scoring compared to the opening three, Chez Reavie and Fabian Gomez both fired rounds of 6-under 66 to finish, like Steele, at 10 under. Both players made seven birdies against a lone bogey. Gomez was the winner of the FedEx St. Jude last season, while Reavie just recently topped the Finals money list to earn fully exempt status on the PGA Tour this season.

Shot of the day: Two of them, both putts on 18, both from Grillo. Because those two went in, he can forget about the much easier one he missed.

Quote of the day: "I didn’t want to be the guy who almost hit Rory McIlroy this week. I wanted people to know me because I have the trophy." - Grillo

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.