FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Emiliano Grillo has a good shot at being named Rookie of the Year this season.
He has something else he’d like to do first, though.
“Win it,” the 23-year-old Argentinian said after a two-under 69 Friday at the Barclays that has him tied for second, two strokes behind leader Patrick Reed heading into the weekend at Bethpage Black. “Being in the lead on Sunday is going to be the goal. On Sunday getting it done is the goal.”
Grillo has already gotten it done once. He won the season-opener, the Frys.com Open, last October in what was just his eighth career start on the PGA Tour.
The months that followed were a bit of a struggle in terms of consistency -- in his first eight starts of 2016 he had just two finishes in the top 30 -- as he was “anxious” for a second victory and found himself pressing.
Once he got over that, and made some minor tweaks to his putting stroke, he started to see better results. In his last eight starts, six have been finishes in the top 15.
Friday, he kept that momentum going, making five birdies, including three in a row at one point, one bogey and one double bogey. He’s also one of just five players to have recorded a pair of sub-70 scores through the first two rounds on what has proven to be a very difficult Bethpage Black. Being a longish hitter off the tee helps on a big golf course. Putting well does on any track, and Grillo is sixth in the field in strokes gained/putting and through two rounds has taken just 55 total putts. As for Rookie of the Year consideration? The only other rookie to have won this season is Smylie Kaufman, who also has one victory but has four top 10s to Grillo’s one. He missed the cut after rounds of 75-74. What would push Grillo in front and all but lock up Rookie of the Year honors? Just what he said: Win it.