Toronto (Canada) (AFP) – Emiliano Grillo, who began the week not knowing if he would even be able to obtain into the country, fired an eight-under 64 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Canadian Open.
The 22-year-old Argentinian went bogey free to lead Vaughn Taylor & Brian Harman Thursday after qualifying to play in this PGA Tour event as a result of his top-10 complete at last week's Barbasol Championship in Alabama.
Americans Harman & Taylor carded matching seven-under 65s & they share second place at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
p>Erik Compton, Steve Wheatcroft, South African Tyrone Van Aswegen & 17-year-old Australian Ryan Ruffels are one shot further back & tied for fourth following six-under 66s.
Grillo has never won in North America as he spends most of his time playing on the European Tour yet he might consider a move in the future as has adapted quickly to the conditions on this side of the Atlantic.
Once he learned he was eligible to play this week, Grillo's first priority was to try & obtain a Canadian visa.
Vaughn Taylor of the US hits his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Barbasol …
After talking to a few people, he decided the best way to obtain one was to travel to the US-Canada border & apply in person. So he flew to Buffalo, New York then drove to the border to take his chances.
"Yeah, it was a crazy week. The last eight, nine days has been crazy," Grillo said. "They told me that I wasn't able to obtain a visa in time, so I had to go to the Canadian border & ask for permission to play this tournament.
"I basically asked them & told them I don't have a visa. 'I'm here to ask you for a permit'.
"There is a kind of exception for athletes, yet Canada has to gain something, & I have to gain something, so it kind of worked.
"Just pay the permit & go ahead. I'm here now & a good, solid round today."
Grillo won the Argentine Open last year & lost in a playoff earlier this year at the Puerto Rico Open. On Thursday, he finished with eight birdies, including three on the four par-fives.
Taylor was moreover in the field after a top-10 result last week, & Harman had a stretch of four consecutive birdies & eight overall with one bogey in his round.
Defending champion Tim Clark, of South Africa, carded an even-par 72, putting him in a tie for 88th & eight shots back.
Emiliano GrilloVaughn TaylorBrian Harman