Lanto Griffin wins maiden title at Houston Open


Lanto Griffin earns maiden PGA Tour title with a one stroke victory at the Houston Open

Lanton Griffin became the third first-time winner on the PGA Tour in just five events of the new season with a one stroke victory at the Houston Open.

The 31-year-old, who earned his card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, finished on 14-under-par after a final round three-under 69.

Griffin, who held the 54-hole lead, battled for most of the day with both Mark Hubbard and Scott Harrington, but a late 35-footer for birdie at the 16th put him ahead and a 72nd hole par sealed his first title. 

“This is going to be a week that I’ll never, never forget — regardless what happens the rest of my career,” Griffin said. “I feel very fortunate beyond words.”

After holding a one shot lead overnight, Griffin showed little signs of nerves as he opened his round with a birdie, and added another just two holes later thanks to two iron shots to within eight feet of the hole. 

His first mistake of the day came at the par-five fourth when he three putted for bogey, opening the door for Hubbard, who made an eagle at the same hole.

Griffin recovered that stroke immediately with another excellent approach to birdie the fourth, but Hubbard joined him at the top of the leaderboard with another birdie at the seventh, and the two matched gains at the eighth to keep the scores level after the front nine.

His second mistake of the day came at the 11th, having narrowly missed the water with his approach, and he failed to get up and down to fall behind by one.

But it was Hubbard who made the next mistake with a wayward tee shot at the par-five 15th that led to a costly bogey to even up the scores, and Griffin made the most of the opportunity by sinking an unlikely 35-footer for birdie two at the par-three 16th to move back to 14-under.

Harrington put pressure on as he also made it to 14-under thanks to four birdies and a bogey between the 12th to 16th holes, but three putted on 17 to fall one stroke behind. Meanwhile, Griffin did well to two-putt at the same hole, and managed to save par at the last for victory despite a tee shot in to the right hand rough. 

Harris English and Xinjun Zhang both fired 66s to finish in a tie for fourth place with Sepp Straka, Carlos Ortiz and Talor Gooch on 11-under, with Bud Cauley, Denny McCarthy, Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell rounding out the top 10 a shot further back.

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