Kudos to you if you knew who Emiliano Grillo was before he took the first PGA Tour event of the new season, the Frys.com Open in Napa, Calif., last week. I had only heard of the 23-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Argentina because he won the Web.com Tour Championship a couple of weeks ago to earn his PGA Tour card. A lot of golf experts believed that Grillo was a top candidate for Rookie of the Year this season.
Obviously he's a the top of the list right now. Grillo drained a birdie putt on the second extra hole at the Silverado Resort to defeat Tour veteran Kevin Na. Grillo clearly isn't fazed by pressure as he also rolled in a 25-footer on the final hole to win the Web.com Tour Championship and another 25-footer on No. 18 Sunday to get into the playoff. Grillo is the first player to win his first start as a PGA Tour member since Russell Henley at the Sony Open in 2013. Grillo is also the first rookie to win since Nick Taylor won last year's Sanderson Farms Championship.
Grillo shot a final-round 3-under 69 at the Frys.com Open -- but did miss a 3-footer to win on the first extra hole -- and now will be playing in the Masters for the first time next April. Grillo, who has played on the European Tour, actually landed his drive on the second extra hole in the bunker and Na was in the fairway, but Na then hooked his approach and landed in the rough and between some trees. He would bogey the hole. Brendan Steele entered Sunday with a one-shot lead but shot a 76.
Needless to say, I didn't have Grillo on my radar. Rory McIlroy was the Bovada betting favorite and I thought maybe he didn't really want to be playing last week -- he basically was forced to by the PGA Tour. McIlroy finished T26. For the winner, I went with Tony Finau, who had a great rookie season in 2014-15, but he finished T32. I didn't get much right last week, just a couple of head-to-head props. So let's move on.
This week the Tour moves to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. It's not a very good field. Only five of the Top 35 in the world are playing, led by No. 5 Rickie Fowler. He was part of the winning USA Presidents Cup team in Korea a few weeks ago. Jimmy Walker also was on that team and is in the field. Aussie Steven Bowditch is the only International team member at Summerlin. Grillo is here as is last season's Web.com Tour money leader Patton Kizzire, who makes his first start as a PGA Tour member.
The defending champion is Ben Martin. He shot a final-round 3-under 68 on Sunday last year for his first PGA Tour win. A 45-foot eagle putt on No. 16 was the key shot as it got Martin the lead back. Martin finished at 20 under to beat out Kevin Streelman, who shot a final-round 65, by two. The winner is going to have to shoot at least 20 under. Martin's winning score was the worst since Martin Laird finished at 19 under in 2009. Martin is +6600 to repeat. The only guy who has here is Jim Furyk in 1998-99. A 59 was shot at this tournament by Chip Beck back in 1991 but it was at a different course.
By the way, neither Jason Day nor Jordan Spieth (who knows Grillo well as the both are from the Class of 2011) played last week or are this, but Day retook the No. 1 world ranking from Spieth. Just thought you would like to know. Grillo jumped from No. 72 to No. 36.
Golf Odds: Shriners Hospitals For Children Open Favorites
To no surprise, Fowler is the +900 significant favorite. His last PGA Tour event was the Tour Championship, where Fowler finished 12th. He has played this event once, a 22nd-place finish in 2010. Brooks Koepka is next at +1600. I had Koepka for a Top 10 last week, but he was 41st. He was second the tournament before that over in Scotland on the Euro Tour. Koepka was fourth here last year.
Pretty big drop-off to the rest of the favorites: Na (+2200), Brandt Snedeker (+2500), Grillo (+2500), Walker (+2500) and Ryan Moore (+2500). Na won this event in 2011 (his only Tour win) but has missed the cut the past two years. Moore won here in 2012. He was 10th last week.
Golf Odds: Shriners Hospitals For Children Open Picks
Expect the 54-hole leader to win as Martin is the fourth straight to do so at this tournament. And guys with Vegas ties -- either living there currently or went to UNLV -- generally play well here.
On the Top-10 props, I like Fowler (-150), Moore (+200) and Jason Bohn (+275), who has three Top 20s here and was T2 in 2013. Go with Bowditch at +200 as the top Aussie, Carl Pettersson at +550 as the top European. Head-to-head, I like Bohn (-115) over Scott Piercy (-115), Na (-115) over Grillo (-115), Webb Simpson (-120) over Charley Hoffman (-110), Fowler (-165) over Koepka (+125), and Moore (-115) over Snedeker (-125).
I'm tempted to go with Moore to win again, but Bohn (+3300) is better value. Bohn has two career wins but not since 2010.
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