March 09, 2018: At 25 and in his seventh season as a professional, Emiliano Grillo is already in the second phase of his career. As international golf turns younger, the expectations of success weigh in, even as they start wearing the skin of a professional. The Argentine rose to prominence when he was elected PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 2016, rising to 23rd in the world. After a bit of quietness in 2017, Grillo has enjoyed some good weeks recently, but even he could not foresee the kind of start he has enjoyed in the Hero Indian Open.
Emiliano came to India riding on some good results in the Honda Classic (T8), OHL Classic (T9) and the Farmers Insurance Open (T12). Grillo emulated the course record 65 with a nearly perfect round of golf on Thursday at the DLF Golf & Country Club.
The 76th ranked man played even better on Friday, producing unerring golf for much of the day to carve himself a lonely place at the top of the heap in Gurugram. Starting on the tenth, the 5’9″ golfer kept a clean sheet, making the turn in 33 strokes, aided by birdies at 11, 12 & 18.
“I am very happy with the way I am playing. I will not let one bogey affect my assessment of the round,” said a smiling Emiliano. “It is a great start and I hope to build on it with similar golf over the next two days.”
Emiliano added birdies at the second and eighth holes to stretch his advantage to seven strokes. At his final hole, the ninth, the Argentine flew his approach to the edge of the green, only to see it roll away farther left into the first cut. He needed three shots from there to finish his round with the second bogey of the week.
In the distance, six off the pace, are the troika the consists of Matt Wallace, Keith Horne and Jens Dantorp.
Indian golfers had it rough again, with the exception of Shubhankar Sharma, who refuses to let the halfway trek across the globe get to him. Anirban Lahiri played a great round of golf, dented by an unfortunate dip in the water at the 17th hole. A dropped shot and a missed putt cost him dear as he signed on a 73, despite making four birdies.
Defending champion SSP Chawrasia left the tournament early, as he missed the cut with a 36 hole total of 7-over 151.
A pair of double bogeys and three other bogeys left Ajeetesh Sandhu ruminating over a bad day, as he negated all the good work from the first round. The young Indian shot 76 on Friday to drop back to even par – down to T34 from his overnight perch inside the top ten.