Griffin reaches PGA TOUR two years after winning in Uruguay
October 25, 2017
By Gregory Villalobos, PGATOURLA.COM
PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay – Lanto Griffin realized a lifelong dream when he earned his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season a couple of months ago. His journey to the highest level of professional golf featured several stops, including 23 starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where he won the 2015 Roberto De Vicenzo Punta del Este Open Copa NEC.
It took him less than two years to make it to the TOUR after that win at Club del Lago Golf. “(It ranks) very close to the top. It gave me a lot of confidence. It’s right behind Nashville,” he says when asked where that PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victory stands among his career accomplishments.
Last July, he won the 2017 Nashville Golf Open, a Web.com Tour event that allowed him to break inside the Tour’s top-25 and advance to the PGA TOUR. “Now, when I look back, I think I can win at my next level too, as I’ve done on both Tours,” he adds.
The 29-year old from Blacksburg, Virginia, keeps fond memories of his time at Club del Lago Golf, where this week PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is back for the third consecutive year.
“You really have to drive well and putt well and be smart in a few holes. If you drive well on No. 10, you will have an eagle chance, and then you have Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7, where you must hit the middle of the fairway. Tee to green you have to do everything well, so it’s a great test,” says Griffin, who had a steady performance of 67-68-68-68 to win by two shots in 2015.
Como uno de los top-25 del Web.com Tour, Lanto Griffin aseguró su tarjeta del PGA TOUR el pasado 27 de agosto en Portland, Oregon. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
While a field of 115 players from 18 countries will be trying to follow in his footsteps starting Thursday in Punta del Este, Griffin will be making his second start of the PGA TOUR season, at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.
“The main goal is to keep full status, and if I lock that up, then I will think of getting inside the top 100 or top 70,” says Griffin of his goals for the new season. “Hopefully, there will be a chance to get in contention on a Sunday and feel how that is like on the PGA TOUR.”
As a PGA TOUR rookie, the Virginia Commonwealth University graduate believes he has a lot to take from his days on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. “The way in which the tournaments are formatted is very similar. (In Latin America) we get to play so many different types of golf courses and conditions. On top of that you have all the traveling across different countries, and the competition is really good. Then, you are also trying to keep your card, stay inside the top 60 to get in the Tour Championship or the top 10 to get to (Q-School) finals. That’s very similar to what you have to do on the Web.com Tour. Having that mindset helped me a lot this season.”
As one of 14 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica graduates who are playing the 2017-18 season on the PGA TOUR, Griffin will have several familiar faces around. “The Latinoamérica Tour has only been around for five or six years, so that’s pretty incredible. For young guys coming out of college who are looking for a place to play, going to Latin America is a great option. It’s a proven pathway to get to the Web.com Tour and then to the PGA TOUR.”
Griffin ought to know.