Golf roundup: Emiliano Grillo wins PGA Tour event in playoff after late stumble

AP photo by LM Otero / Emiliano Grillo hits a tee shot on the second hole at Colonial Country Club during the final round of the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. Grillo beat Adam Schenk on the second hole of a playoff to win the tournament.
AP photo by LM Otero / Emiliano Grillo hits a tee shot on the second hole at Colonial Country Club during the final round of the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. Grillo beat Adam Schenk on the second hole of a playoff to win the tournament.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Emiliano Grillo could only watch as his golf 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.

The poorly hit shot on the 72nd hole at Colonial Country Club cost him his two-stroke lead in the Charles Schwab Challenge, but he still got his first PGA Tour victory in more than 7 1/2 years.

Grillo curled in a five-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, the 186-yard 16th where he had taken the solo lead before needing a playoff Sunday. Grillo and Adam Schenk, who both finished 72 holes of regulation at 8-under-par 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, then had to set his ball on the concrete. His approach was short of the green, and he two-putted from about 20 feet for a double bogey to drop to 8 under.

"One bad swing all day," said Grillo, who closed with a 2-under 68.

It was the second PGA Tour win for Grillo, the 30-year-old from Argentina whose other win was at the Frys.com Open in October 2015. He had four other top-10 finishes this season.

Along with a $1.566 million check, plaid jacket and fully restored 1973 Ford Bronco, 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 he is in line for this year's U.S. Open and British Open after moving from 80th to 42nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

PGA Tour rookie Harry Hall, in the final group with Schenk, made a bogey on the final hole after his drive into the water to miss getting in the playoff. He shot a 73 and 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.

Paul Haley II shot a 67 to finish fifth at 6-under 274.

Harris English, who was a stroke behind Hall and Schenk after the third round, shot a 76 and tied for 12th at 3 under. He had the best finish among three Baylor School graduates in the field, with Luke List (74) sharing 57th at 5 over and Stephan Jaeger (76) another stroke back and tied for 68th.

Scheffler was the runner-up at Colonial 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 Sunday, he was at 7 under. But he was even the rest of the way, with a birdie at the 10th and a bogey on the par-3 16th.

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.

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.

  photo  AP photo by LM Otero / Adam Schenk hits a tee shot on the second hole at Colonial Country Club during the final round of the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
 

Stricker wins duel

FRISCO, Texas — Steve Stricker beat Padraig Harrington on the first hole of a playoff in the Senior PGA Championship, giving the 56-year-old from Wisconsin a sweep of the first two senior majors of the season.

Harrington, a 51-year-old Irishman, forced the playoff with a short birdie putt on the par-5 18th, but he put his drive in the replay of the hole in deep grass on the right side of the fairway.

After a failed attempt to hack the ball out, Harrington dropped to what he said was about 270 yards away and put a fairway wood within 15 feet. Stricker missed a second consecutive putt to win on 18, but Harrington couldn't make the par putt to extend the playoff.

Stricker's sixth senior major title came two weeks after he won the Regions Tradition for the second consecutive year. All five of Stricker's previous senior major wins were by six shots, but this time he came from behind, erasing a five-shot deficit in the final nine holes of the third round.

"This means a lot," Stricker said. "I spent a lot of time with the PGA of America during the Ryder Cup. To play in another PGA next year I think will be a lot of fun, too."

Stricker and Harrington, who was trying to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the Senior PGA since Rocco Mediate in 2016, finished 72 holes at 18-under 260. Stricker closed with a 3-under 69 and Harrington had a 70.

Stewart Cink, playing with Harrington and Stricker but never threatening to crash their two-man battle, made a 60-footer for his second birdie at No. 17 and eagled the par-5 18th to finish two shots back. A week after turning 50, Cink finished his debut on the senior circuit with a 69.

Y.E. Yang was alone in fourth at 11 under after a 70, while 2022 Senior PGA winner Steven Alker (71) shared fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (70) and Darren Clarke (72) at 9 under.


Varner's first on LIV

STERLING, Va. — Harold Varner III secured his first LIV Golf League victory when he two-putted from about 35 feet for a birdie on the par-5 18th hole at Trump National Golf Club Washington D.C.

The 32-year-old American closed with a 4-under 68 and finished the 54-hole event at 12-under 204. He won by a shot over South Africa's Branden Grace, who holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the tough par-4 second hole — his last of the shotgun start — for a 66 just moments before Varner wrapped up his round.

Chile's Mito Pereira, the 36-hole leader, shot a 71 and finished third.

Varner won for the first time on American soil. He never won on the PGA Tour, where he had played since the 2015-16 season before signing on with LIV last year. His previous two professional wins were the Australian PGA Championship and the Saudi International.

"I'm getting better at golf," he said. "That's always been my goal. I think big things are coming."

Varner started the final round one shot behind Pereira, but the Chilean bogeyed his first two holes. Varner holed a bunker shot for birdie at the 11th, and he made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 15th that gave him a two-shot lead. Grace birdied two of his final three holes.

A week after winning the PGA Championship for his fifth major title, Brooks Koepka tied for 12th in the 48-man field after shooting a 70 to finish at 5 under.


Late birdies are big

CROMVOIRT, Netherlands — Pablo Larrazabal won the KLM Open by two strokes, earning his ninth career win on the DP World Tour and his second in a four-week span on the Europe-based circuit.

The 40-year-old Larrazabal started the final round at Bernardus with a one-stroke lead and closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 13-under 275.

Fellow Spaniard Adrian Otaegui was second after a 70, with third place shared by Denmark's Rasmus Hojgaard (71) and South Africa's Deon Germishuys (69).

Larrazabal punched the air repeatedly and beat his chest after rolling in a putt from 21 feet on the 18th for a third birdie in his final four holes. His round began badly after making a double-bogey 6 at No. 2 when his tee shot found the water, but he recovered with back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh holes and had a 32 on the back nine

"It was a battle with myself," said Larrazabal, who won the Korea Championship in late April. "I didn't play well. I managed myself out there, holed a few great putts on the front nine and did my best to keep myself in position, then three birdies in the last four.

"To win golf tournaments, you have to make birdies at the end. It doesn't matter how fast you run at the beginning, you have to run faster at the end to win the race."


Match Play champ

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand capped the annual longest week on tour with a 3-and-1 victory to win the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play over Ayaka Furue of Japan.

Anannarukarn, who beat Linn Grant of Sweden in the morning semifinals at Shadow Creek, took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-5 seventh hole.

The Thai player kept up the pressure on a hot day north of Las Vegas, with both players carrying umbrellas under a bright blue sky to fend off the sun. But just when it looked as though fatigue was setting in from playing seven matches in five days, they produced some of their best shots.

Furue simply couldn't catch up, and she finished runner-up for the second straight year.

"Match Play is taking a lot of energy throughout the week," Anannarukarn said. "I'm really soaking it in right now. It's been a great week, and I'm grateful for everything."

The match ended on the par-3 17th when Anannarukarn drilled her tee shot to a right pin about six feet to the right of the hole and Furue found a back bunker. Furue's bunker shot hit the left side of the hole — had it hit the pin, it might have dropped — and rolled out some 12 feet.

She conceded the match.

Anannarukarn won for the second time on the LPGA Tour, and the first time since the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland in 2021, a tournament co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

Two days ago, it looked as though she might get eliminated. Anannarukarn lost on the 18th hole to Karis Davidson of Australia, forcing a sudden death playoff. Anannarukarn hit a tee shot that sank deep into a divot in the first cut. She hit perhaps her most important shot of the week, gouging it out and onto the green to win with a par.

In the knockout stage, she took out Solheim Cup stalwart Carlota Ciganda and then Cheyenne Knight of the United States in the quarterfinals. She made eight birdies against Grant in the semifinals, superb golf considering the fast, firm conditions of Shadow Creek.

Furue took out Leona Maguire of Ireland in the semifinals, another star from the last Solheim Cup, and grabbed an early lead in the championship match until the first of several mistakes by both players.

Anannarukarn is the first Thai winner on the LPGA Tour this season, a country so strong that it won the International Crown two weeks ago without Anannarukarn on the four-player team.

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