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Catching up with Emiliano Grillo

Emiliano Grillo works on his swing at the practice green at IMG Academy

After earning his European Tour card late last year, IMG Academy alumnus Emiliano Grillo has had a busy season. Since January, Grillo has competed in 17 European Tour events in his first year on Tour. Grillo's recently completed the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi, where he finished T-22nd. He took a break from competition to return to IMG Academy and work with his coach, Grant Price, and we had a chance to catch up with him to reflect on his time in Bradenton and how it helped him acclimate to turning pro, and a little about himself away from the links...

On why he chose to leave Argentina to attend IMG Academy when he was 16...

"I had a very good opportunity to compete in more tournaments, better tournaments, and playing and practicing more in between those tournaments. That helped a lot."

On the most valuable lessons learned from his coaches...

"The value of practice. It's something very simple, but it's very hard [to do effectively>. Some of the time you just go there and hit balls with no purpose. You have to learn how to focus on your training, and what your main focus is in golf."

On who was most influential in his development...

"My coach Grant Price. My first coach was just during the summer, and then I started working with Shane Reiser, but he moved into another position [within the golf program>. Then entered Coach Grant, and I kept with him since then. There are a lot of people that help me here - like Shane - that helped me to feel comfortable here, and helped me with anything that I needed. It was a great experience."

On what he is focusing on in practice to improve following his top-25 finish at the Italian Open...

"I'm working the most on my short game. My short game is the weakest part of my entire game. Although at the moment, I'm working on my full swing, too. It's always hard to put everything together, but I'm working hard to bring together all those areas. That's the main thing - when you have a good week, it's because all of your game was in good shape."

On the biggest difference between playing in junior and professional tournaments...

"One thing is the amount of time guys take to complete their games. Some of the guys there finish their round, don't even go to eat, then head straight to the range and hit hundreds of balls. That's how they got to where they are. It's just surprising some of the numbers they total. It's all about consistency. The guys that are on the top have much more consistency than others."

On his advice for the next generation of junior golfers looking to go pro...

"You never know what's going to happen in the future. So you have to keep in school and get your education. For other players back home, I would encourage them to try and get to the United States to train. Work hard, practice, earn a scholarship and go to a university to get the education. To play at a high level - you have a to play a lot of golf, especially when you're young. It's the most important part of your career. But anything can happen, and no matter what, you will always have an education to fall back on. It's like insurance."

On his usage of social media...

"I love to use it to talk about my other favorite sports - like basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers, my favorite soccer team back home or my golf game."

On his favorite sport outside of golf...

"Basketball. I'm a very big fan of the Lakers. My favorite player is definitely Kobe Bryant."

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