FORT WORTH, TX — Emiliano Grillo he could only watch as his ball lifted and rolled back towards Tee 18 after his wayward shot fell into the flowing water of a small concrete drainage channel. That slip on the 72nd hole in Colonial cost him a two-stroke lead, but he still took his first PGA Tour win in over 7.5 years.
Grillo curled up in a 5-yard birdie putt on the second playoff hole, a 186-yard 16. Grillo and Adam Schenkwhich both finished with an 8 under 272, he had a par of two putts from 26 feet in 18th place to start the playoffs.
A 20-yard birdie in position 16 in regulation gave Grillo two strokes before hitting from the tee in position 18.
“I’ve done it before. I took the exact same shot from the right side of the tree,” he said. “When I saw one of the marshals go to the right of the tree, I knew it was going to be a long wait before this ball stopped. … She stopped for about five, 10 seconds at a time. I actually thought I was lucky. Five seconds later, the ball was still moving.”
The ball finally came to rest on a rock in the middle of the stream, about 150 yards downstream. Grillo took a penalty kick with a drop where the ball went into the channel and had to set the ball on the concrete. His approach was short on the green and he made two putts from about 20 feet to double bogey down to 8 below.
One bad swing all day,” he said.
It was the second PGA Tour win for Grillo, a 30-year-old from Argentina whose only other win was at the Frys.com Open in Napa in October 2015. He had four more top 10 finishes this season. He had a final 2-under 68.
Along with a check for $1.566 million, a plaid jacket, and a completely restored 1973 Bronco, the win at Hogan’s Alley pretty much set the Grillo on all four majors. Now he is ready to compete in next year’s Masters and PGA Championships, and in this year’s US Open and British Open he moved up from 80th to 42nd in the world golf ranking.
PGA Tour rookie Harry Hall, in the final group with Schenk, intimidated the final hole after plunging into the water to miss a playoff entry. He finished in third place with a score of 7 under with local favorite Scott Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 player, who had a hole on the 8th hole for 189 yards while closing 67.
Schenk, a 31-year-old Indiana resident, finished second this season in his 171st PGA Tour event. They are still looking for their first win after 72 matches in the final group on Sunday.
After making his only birdie with an 8-footer in position No. 16, Schenk was on the 17th tee when he saw someone over the flowing water.
“I didn’t see who it was. I wasn’t looking too hard. I knew Emiliano was several shots ahead,” said Schenk. “I had so many worries on day 17.”
Schenk made a par from the greenside bunker at No. 17, then another par at No. 18 when his win-win birdie putt came short.
“If he had hit him a little harder, he would have fallen in,” said Grillo. “The story would be a little different. He’d probably be sitting here an hour earlier, but that’s golf.”
Tee Grillo, number 16 in overtime, landed on the right side of the green, rolled down the slope, and came to rest about five feet to the left of the hole. Schenk drove into bumpy hole after hole, albeit with an impressive throw from the field.
Grillo had four birdies and two bogeys on his first seven holes on Sunday, but caught up with the lead with a 17-foot birdie on the 12th, 435-yard hole. After leading on Saturday, he had a double bogey and two bogeys on the last six holes.
Hall, a 25-year-old Englishman, was the solo leader after the first and second rounds. Tied with Schenk early in the final round, Hall started with consecutive birdies to drop to 12 under, but these were his only birdies in the final 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 number 8 bounced several times into the cup, he had a 7 under. But he even made it to the end with a birdie in 10th place and a par-3 bogey in 16th place.
“I took a few strokes today, but overall I probably missed a few strokes on the green, which is frustrating,” said Scheffler. “For a weekend where I really struggled with the putter, it was nice to give myself a chance to win.”
It was the second ace in Scheffler’s career. The first appeared in his PGA Tour debut as a 17-year-old in 2014 Byron Nelson in his hometown of Dallas.
The English played Hall in the final group during the third round but lost some of the lead when he lost his last hole on Saturday. He had four bogeys over six holes to complete his top nine on Sunday, having three in a row in 4-6 positions en route to hitting 76 and tied for 12th.