NAPA, Calif. – Harold Varner III and Emiliano Grillo have already made quick transitions to the PGA Tour.
Now, they have a chance to join an exclusive club.
Two shots back heading into the final round of the Frys.com Open, they each can become just the fourth player in the last 15 years to win in their first start as a PGA Tour member.
Russell Henley (2011), Henrik Stenson (2007) and Garrett Willis are the other players who have accomplished the feat recently.
“Did I expect it myself?” said Varner, who joined Tiger Woods as the only players of black heritage on Tour this season. “Yes. I know I am capable. I haven’t been in this position, but I’ve been in contention in tournaments. The things that I learned on the Web.com when I was in contention, I’m going to use that tomorrow.”
The biggest lesson: Slow down.
Varner does everything fast – swing, walk, talk – especially when things aren’t going his way, but he says he’s done a good job of slowing himself down this week.
Grillo, meanwhile, won the Web.com Tour Championship earlier this month and shot 65 Saturday to move into a share of fourth at Silverado. He appeared to be an afterthought until an eagle on the par-5 16th and birdie on 17 after nearly hitting Rory McIlroy with his tee shot. Both he and Varner are at 12-under 204, two shots behind Brendan Steele.
“I think I’ve been doing the right things,” Grillo said. “Nothing really special about it. I’ve just been consistent with my game, playing good in almost every area. That’s really important out here.”