Takeaways: Griffin moves into The 25, Moore nears TOUR card
July 02, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Lanto Griffin won the Nashville Golf Open with rounds of 72-70-62-68. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Notes and observations from the final round of the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation, where after a lengthy rain delay, Lanto Griffin birdied the first playoff hole to win his first Web.com Tour title over Abraham Ancer …
Griffin parlays steady emotions into first title
It was an odd way for a win to shake out Sunday for Lanto Griffin at the Nashville Golf Open – between a rain delay, a missed short putt in regulation, and a playoff victory that happened on a par-3 as the sun was rapidly disappearing – but he’ll take it.
Griffin, who became the first golfer since 2004 to win on the Web.com Tour after making the cut on the number, admitted he was ‘way more nervous’ on Friday as he was grinding to make the cut versus Saturday or Sunday.
“There were a lot of holes where I was thinking about just battling to get up the money list. Making a cut and having an opportunity is huge,” he said. “It’s one of those courses where nobody is going to run away from (the field) so if you make the cut, you were right in there.”
Griffin, who had 25 feet for birdie on his final hole Friday, two-putted that and said he breathed a big sigh of relief.
“I was more nervous on that putt than I was on the putt to win, either of them,” he stated.
Griffin went to Virginia Commonwealth University with fellow Web.com Tour member Rafael Campos (“we’ll be friends for life,” he said of Campos, who was his roommate when they were freshmen), and said, coming down the stretch, he was feeling really comfortable.
“There was no reason for me to feel that comfortable,” he admitted, although he did have experience in the winner’s circle before, having won on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica a couple of years ago when he was paired with Campos in the final round. “I just felt really calm. I was telling myself I should feel more nervous, and I was wondering why I wasn’t. It was huge.”
Lanto Griffin's 17-foot birdie putt to win is the Shot of the Day
Moore on cusp of TOUR card
University of Arkansas alum Taylor Moore, who has missed just one cut so far in 2017, notched another solid result Sunday, and his tie for third moves him to 27th on the money list.
Moore was well back of the lead heading into Sunday’s finale, but fired a 6-under-par 66 to climb the leaderboard and record his best result of the season.
“I just wanted to fire at some pins and make some birdies early and I did a good job of that,” said Moore. “I had some opportunities on the back (nine) and converted when I needed to.”
Moore admitted Sunday he was battling through a wrist injury suffered three weeks ago. He said it has been holding up well, but he will take next week’s LECOM Health Challenge off before embarking on another long stretch.
“I feel like I’m playing pretty good but I need a break,” he explained. “I don’t want to over-do it.”Taylor Moore nearly holed out from the bunker at the last, ultimately finishing one shot outside the playoff. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Pereira trending in right direction
Although it wasn’t the start to 2017 that Guillermo Pereira would have wanted – he missed six of his first eight cuts – the Texas Tech University alum has been playing his best golf of the season at a good time, improving steadily each time out his last five events.
A tie for 44th at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation was followed by a tie for 28th at the Rust-Oleum Championship, then a tie for 15th at the Air Capital Classic, and a tie for 11th at the Lincoln Land Charity Championship.
This week at the Nashville Golf Open? He notched a tie for third, which he credits to a change in his mental makeup.
“I didn’t think about the reshuffle, I just went out there and enjoyed it a little bit more,” he said. “I think I was too frustrated playing at the start of the season. I’ve just changed that and I’m playing better now.”
Pereira made one bogey on the Nashville Golf & Athletic Club on Sunday, and shot a 5-under 67. That bogey, however, may have cost him a chance at the title.
“I knew I was close (to the lead), but that bogey … it was a big mistake,” he admitted. “It went from a birdie hole to a bad bogey. But, that happens.”Guillermo Pereira moved to 47th on the money list with a tie for third in Music City. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Whitney riding wave of good play
It’s been an up-and-down season for Tom Whitney so far, but he’s happy that things have been more on the ‘up’ of late.
After a tie for fifth last week, Whitney finished tied for 10th at the Nashville Golf Open and has slid inside the top 75 on the money list for the first time all year.
He said Sunday that he’s feeling confident right now.
“I’m not carrying any swing thoughts right now and I just feel really comfortable. I know I belong here,” he said. “I made a great move in the month of June and I’m looking forward to taking next week off and spending some time with my family. But I’m highly confident in my swing right now and I know it will show up (at the following week’s Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank).”
Whitney admitted it has been a ‘weird’ season for him – not having starts and not knowing his status, or being second or third alternate and getting into events on Wednesdays (or not at all) – and said it’s been a mentally tough 2017.
But things have turned a positive corner for the former United States Air Force Lieutenant.
“I was able to throw all that other stuff out of my mind and just play golf,” he explained of his recent success.Tom Whitney has recorded two straight top-10s, leading into a well-deserved week off. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Good play rewards those in The 25
Although Lanto Griffin had only made four cuts in 11 prior Web.com Tour starts this season, he made this week in Nashville count. And his victory moved him from 135th on the money list all the way to 21st.
Although Stephan Jaeger didn’t have the best of results this week – he finished tied for 59th – he remains atop The 25.
Abraham Ancer, despite the playoff loss, moved from 23rd to 11th.
Adam Schenk, who won last week and finished tied for fifth this week, moved to seventh on The 25.
Taylor Moore, who finished tied for third, moved from 45th to 27th, on the cusp of the magic number.
Lanto Griffin interview after winning Nashville Golf Open