FORT WORTH, Texas -- Emiliano Grillo emerged the winner Sunday at the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club after outlasting Adam Schenk in a two-hole playoff. And that wasn't until after a 72nd hole-adventure involving an aqueduct adjacent to the par-4 18th that resulted in the two extra holes being played to determine a winner.
Holding a two-shot lead on the 18th tee box at 10 under for the event, Grillo sprayed his tee shot right, with the ball ultimately rolling into the aqueduct within the penalty area. The aqueduct's current was strong enough that Grillo's ball began to slowly float a healthy distance back in the direction of the tee box before finally coming to rest.
While Grillo had the option to play the ball from the hazard, he ultimately opted to take a drop and the accompanying one-stroke penalty. Fortunately for Grillo, he was able to take his drop on his line of entry into the hazard, allowing him to play his third shot -- a punch-out short of the green -- from a position much closer to the green than where his ball settled after taking an unexpected journey.
Grillo ultimately settled for a closing double-bogey to sit at 8 under for the event. Schenk matched that mark to force the playoff. Third-round co-leader Harry Hall was also at 8 under entering the 72nd hole, but missed the playoff by a stroke after hitting his tee shot on 18 into the water and caring a bogey.
"I've hit that exact shot [before], right into the tree. When the marshals walked right from the tree, I knew it was going to be a long way until that ball stopped," Grillo said. "It stopped for a five to 10 seconds, and I thought I got lucky. It had a window, and then five seconds later, it kept moving. So I tried my hardest to make a bogey, but was not able. I knew if I finished ahead of Scottie Scheffler I knew I was going to have a chance still."
Grillo and Schenk carded dueling pars on the first playoff hole, a replay of the par 4 18th. When the action shifted to the second playoff hole on the par-3 16th, however, Grillo stuck his tee shot less than five feet from the cup ,while Schenk's tee shot bounced off the back side of the green. Schenk then put his chip shot close to the cup, but Grillo sunk his birdie attempt to capture his second PGA Tour victory, birdying the same hole earlier in the afternoon to reach 10 under before coming back to 8 under.
Those who have tuned into the Charles Schwab Challenge over the years may have found Grillo's sequence of events on the final hole of regulation familiar. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, in 1990, had a similar encounter with the same aqueduct when teeing off the on the neighboring par-4 17th, though Crenshaw's ball ultimately traveled all the way into a larger body of water. Crenshaw also shot 8 under in route to a victory that year, though no playoff was needed.