Oakville: Argentina`s Emiliano Grillo continued to make the most of his limited time on the PGA Tour as he snatched the first-round lead at the Canadian Open on Thursday.
The 22-year-old, who plays full-time on the European Tour, followed up his top-10 showing at the Barbasol Championship in Alabama last week with a bogey-free, eight-under 64 to finish a stroke in front of Americans Vaughn Taylor and Brian Harman.
Grillo, who learned the game on the same course as his compatriots Jose Coceres and Fabian Gomez, did not qualify for last week`s British Open in Scotland and instead accepted an invite to play in the Barbasol event.
After taking the 36-hole lead there, Grillo needed to make birdies at two of his final three holes to finish in a tie for 10th and earn a spot in the Canadian Open field.
But after flying to Buffalo, just 90 minutes from the Glen Abbey layout, he experienced visa problems before he finally managed to persuade customs officials to allow him entry into Canada.
"I wasn`t able to get a permit in time, so I kind of had to go to the Canadian border and ask for permission to play in this tournament," Grillo said.
"I got lucky enough to spend two hours in there, and they told me, `Hey, you can go. Just pay the permit and go ahead.` "I`m here now and a good, solid round today."
It has been a solid season for Grillo, who is scheduled to marry his fiancee Macarena on Sept. 5. He is 38th on the European money list, thanks to three top-10 finishes, and ranked 96th in the world.
He came close to landing his first victory on the PGA Tour when he lost out in a five-way playoff for the Puerto Rico Open in early March when Germany`s Alex Cejka made a birdie on the first extra hole to clinch the title.
Grillo has a home in Bradenton, Florida but he is undecided on which tour he will play if he gains his PGA Tour card.
"If I play well here, if I get my card here, then I`ll definitely play more often here," said Grillo, who hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation on Thursday.
"I don`t know if I`ll play full (time) here and nothing (in Europe], but I`m going to try to maybe play both (tours)."