Grillo makes a name for himself in Dubai with drama on 18

What turned out to be a familiar ending to the Dubai Desert Classic could have been so different.

Kenny Laurie
by Kenny Laurie
3rd February 2014

article:3rd February 2014

Turning up the heat: Grillo almost clinched the title with a miraculous 18th.
Turning up the heat: Grillo almost clinched the title with a miraculous 18th.

What turned out to be a familiar ending to the Dubai Desert Classic could have been so different.

Stephen Gallacher took home the trophy, but for a while it looked like it might go to the virtually-unknown Argentine Emiliano Grillo.


The 21-year-old temporarily stole the lead after an incredible eagle on the final hole, before Gallacher kept his nerve and wrapped things up.

Sitting on 13-under after 17 holes, Grillo looked done for when his second shot on the par-5 18th went flying into the hospitality area behind the green.

Luckily, the shot cannoned back off the suites before landing on the green. The world No268 grabbed the opportunity with both hands by holing a massive 65-feet putt to take an eagle, finishing on 15-under for the tournament which was good for second place.

“Apart from the second shot on 18, everything was good," Grillo said. "That second shot on 18 was a little further than I wanted, but I got lucky, and then I got lucky with a big putt.

“I just wanted to get ready in case there was a playoff. I am happy with what I did, I still think I left some putts around there but that 18 gave me what I missed.”

With no professional wins to his name and very few high performances to speak of, Grillo looked as surprised as anyone coming off the green, staring at the possibility of a surprise victory.

He didn’t hang around after his round, knowing that a potential playoff was in the offing.

At the time of his 18th-hole miracle, eventual winner Gallacher was on 14-under par with two holes to play. Anticipating a resurgence from the Scotsman, Grillo ran off to the practice ground to prepare.

A pair of birdies on the 16th and 17th for Gallacher eventually made the extra practice redundant. It wasn’t the case of the Buenos Aires native getting lucky and finishing second on the basis of just one shot.

He did have a superb tournament, leading the all-important greens in regulations stats with 86 per cent during the week and seventh in fairways hit at 72 per cent.

After this showing, the Argentine is surely going to become a more popular name with the fans.


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