Ukrainian 14-year-old shoots under par in opening round
Lev Grinberg, a 14-year-old, who was born in Ukraine, spent time honing his game in Belgium before working more in the United States over the last three years, shot one-under 70 yesterday in the opening round of the DP World Tour’s Soudal Open.
Playing on one of six tournament exemptions that go to amateurs, Grinberg parred the first three holes then rattled off consecutive birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to get to two under. He made a 20-footer on the fourth and got up and down from 25 yards short of the green for birdie on the par-5 fifth.
Grinberg made bogey at the sixth but made another birdie on 11 when he hit it tight from 66 yards out. He closed with bogey on the home hole when he was not able to get up and down from right of the green and shot 70 at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp, Belgium, where Grinberg and his father, Illya, are members.
Lev is only five shots off the lead in a field where Thomas Pieters, at No. 36 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the top-ranked player. Pieters shot two-under 69.
“I enjoyed myself out there,” Grinberg said. “I played pretty good.”
According to Grinberg’s personal website, he was born in Kiev, Ukraine and started playing golf at age five at Kozyn Golf & Country Club. A few years later, Lev would accompany his father on business trips to Belgium and he became more serious about his game, competing in national junior competitions there as early as age seven.
Grinberg’s game progressed more and eventually he spent winters in the United States, mostly in Florida. Lev and his father remained in the U.S. during most of the COVID-19 pandemic and finally returned to Belgium late last year.
This is not the first time that Grinberg has made headlines. Last year, at only 13, he advanced to the final stage of U.S. Open qualifying, looking to become the youngest to compete in a men’s major championship. He shot 74 in the first round at Dallas Athletic Club and had played five holes in his second round when weather suspended play.
The round was not scheduled to resume until the following day, so Grinberg—paired with Scott Piercy and Kramer Hickok—withdrew and flew to Miami to play in his next junior event.