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November 5, 2015

Grillo, Kaufman, Thomas each win first career PGA TOUR title on the Road to Kapalua

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii (November 5, 2015) – The youth movement that characterized last season is already being advanced just three weeks into the young 2015-16 PGA TOUR season, as the first three winners are all less than 24 years old. PGA TOUR rookies Emiliano Grillo (23) and Smylie Kaufman (23), as well as second-year player Justin Thomas (22), have all picked up wins on the road to Kapalua in recent weeks to qualify for their first Hyundai Tournament of Champions, to be played at The Plantation Course at Kapalua, Jan. 6-10.

Grillo captured the season-opening Open in a playoff over Kevin Na, just two weeks after winning the Tour Championship the start before. The Argentinian became the first player to win in his first start as an official PGA TOUR member since Russell Henley at the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii.

“There are no words to put in to explain this,” Grillo said following his win. “This is the greatest moment of my life, golf-wise.”

The following week, another recent Tour alum and rookie took home a trophy on the PGA TOUR, when Smylie Kaufman captured the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open after firing a closing-round 10-under 61. The last time rookies won back-to-back events on the PGA TOUR was in 2011, when Charl Schwarzel won the Masters Tournament and Brendan Steele won the Valero Texas Open. Kaufman, like Grillo, qualified for his first start at the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

“I left it all out there and posted a number, and luckily it held up,” Kaufman said.

The youth movement continued the next week, as talented TOUR sophomore Thomas won his first PGA TOUR event at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia at the age of 22. Thomas was successful in his rookie season, recording seven top 10s, but fell short of capturing his first win. He didn’t wait long to take care of business in his second season, making birdies on 15-16-17 following a double-bogey on the short par-4 14th at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, eventually defeating Adam Scott by one shot. When he reflected on the win, Thomas was openly excited about the opportunity to tee it up in Kapalua with the other PGA TOUR winners from the 2015 calendar year.

“Honestly, I'm extremely excited about going to Hawaii,” Thomas said, referring to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions following his victory. “I think that's going to be awesome. Being a small field and the few guys that are there, I think that's really going to be a lot of fun and I've heard a lot of great things about it.”

The PGA TOUR continues to get younger and younger, and that is typified by these early-season results on the road to Kapalua. Just four tournaments remain in 2015 for players to qualify for the winners-only event, beginning with this week at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and concluding with The RSM Classic in late November.

The 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions returns to The Plantation Course at Kapalua in early January. All four competitive rounds will be broadcast on Golf Channel. Follow the tournament on Facebook at or Twitter @HyundaiTOC to get updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament preparations.


About Hyundai Motor America
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for one year with enrollment. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and in-vehicle service scheduling. Please visit our media website at
The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.

Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2013, tournaments across all Tours generated more than $134 million for local and national charitable organizations and in early 2014 the TOUR’s all-time charitable contributions surpassed $2 billion.

The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

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