Emiliano Grillo (Getty Images)
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo carded a six under par 66 to take the early clubhouse lead at the ISPS HANDA Perth International.
The 20 year old Qualifying School graduate shot four birdies and an eagle three from ten feet at the long 15th to set the early benchmark and lead alongside Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares, who still had six holes remaining.
Grillo has enjoyed a solid debut season with a best finish to date of tied tenth in Austria, and at 112th on The Race to Dubai a good finish this week in Australia could secure his playing rights for 2013.
“I hit a lot of fairways out there, that's very important on this golf course and a lot of greens and then the ones that I missed, I got up and down,” Grillo said of his bogey-free effort. “So it was a good round overall.
“There are not many tournaments left, so I’m trying to make as much ground as I can this week.
“It was very nice to get my card through Q School last year. It's been a great year so far and I'm enjoying it.
“It's good to have a good round on a good day, but it's going to get windy and you've just got to play very good from the tee, hit good drivers, and probably the hardest thing on this golf course are the par threes. So if you play the par threes here and you hit fairways, you're going to go well.”
Cañizares, whose only European Tour title came six years ago, had six birdies in his first 12 holes on the Lake Karrinyup course to give himself a chance of surpassing Grillo’s effort.
New Zealander Michael Hendry and Australian trio Ashley Hall, Max McCardle and Jason Scrivener were tied for third on four under, with England’s Andrew Johnston, Welshman Rhys Davies, Italian Edoardo Molinari and Australian Andrew Dodt rounding out the top ten on three under par.
Hendry birdied three of his last five holes to set the clubhouse mark at seven under par, and Cañizares joined him when the 29 year old birdied the short 17th.
Johnston, who had been three over par after four holes, had three birdies in his last four holes to take fourth with a five under par 67.