The American won his maiden PGA Tour title just two years after nearly giving up the game


Lanto Griffin Secures Emotional Maiden PGA Tour Title

Lanto Griffin won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Houston Open by a single stroke after holing a 30 foot birdie putt on the 16th.

The American shot a three under par 69 with five birdies and two bogeys to beat Scott Harrington and Mark Hubbard by one at the Golf Club of Houston.

He secured his victory with a six footer for par on the testing final hole in Houston.

Griffin now has his playing rights secured for the future after what has been a turbulent journey to the PGA Tour.

The 31-year-old had just $176 in his bank account in 2014 and was ready to give up the game in 2017. Fast forward to today and he is top of the FedEx Cup standings and $1.35m richer.

His journey to the PGA Tour began in 2017 when, instead of giving up the game like he told his agent, he began seeing a sports psychologist and won on the Korn Ferry Tour in Nashville.

That earned him his PGA Tour card for 2018 which he lost before winning it back this year via the Korn Ferry Tour after winning in Alabama.

Griffin’s father got him into the game but died around the turn of the century of a brain tumour when Lanto was just 12.

Watch: Griffin’s winning putt –

“I bet he’d be pretty proud,” Griffin said of his father whilst fighting back tears.

“He got me started. He got me a set – I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell this story – but for Christmas in 1996, he got me a 5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, putter, 3-wood and he got me into golf.

“And then Steve Prater, he took it from there.”

Steve Prater became Lanto Griffin’s golf coach, mentor and father figure after Griffin’s dad passed away.

He got Griffin an honorary membership at Blacksburg Country Club and coached him from there, helping him earn a scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I remember when Lanto’s dad died,” Prater told the PGA Tour.

“I knew he was sick but it was still kind of a shock to me. Lanto was in the bag room when I saw him. … He was sad, crying. We hugged for a while. Ever since, we’ve had a bond.”

“I wouldn’t be here without him,” Griffin said of Steve Prater after victory.

“He opened every door in golf that I ever had, teaching me for free, giving me a membership. He’s had my back the entire journey.

“He deserved every penny that I’m going to pay him,” Griffin said. “I can’t wait to write that cheque to him.”

Related: PGA Pro shoots 59 in competition

Houston Open Leaderboard –

1 Lanto Griffin -14

2 Scott Harrington -13

2 Mark Hubbard -13

4 Harris English -11

4 Xinjung Zhang -11

4 Talor Gooch -11

4 Carlos Ortiz -11

4 Sepp Straka -11

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