Griffin birdies first hole of sudden death against Malone alum Justin Lower and Georgia alum Adam Mitchell to grab his first Swing Thought Tour Pro Series win against one of the toughest fields to date
(North Augusta, S.C.) – Heading into the final round of the 2015 Kandy Waters Memorial Classic being held at the River Golf Club in North Augusta, S.C., Virginia Commonwealth alum Lanto Griffin found himself in the final pairing and just a shot back of leader and former University of Georgia star Adam Mitchell. Leading up to the event, Griffin wasn’t even sure if he would play in the event that has been the longest running tournament on the Swing Thought Tour at 16 years. It was not until Monday of the tournament week, when Griffin missed playing his way into the PGA TOUR Wyndham Championship by a single shot, he thought to himself “you know what, I’m playing well, I’m going to Augusta” and he entered online last second.
The decision paid off handsomely for Griffin as the 27 year old from Jacksonville Beach, Fla. shot rounds of 66-66-65-65 for a 262 stroke total, putting him at 22 under par for the event, and into a three-way tie with Mitchell, a member of the winning 2009 Walker Cup team, and Nicklaus Award Winner Justin Lower out of Malone University. Lower, the winner of the Swing Thought Tour’s exemption into the 2013 PGA TOUR Reno-Tahoe Open, made the biggest move of the three on Saturday shooting a final round 63 to move up from fourth and into a playoff with Mitchell and Griffin. It was Griffin, however, who would drain a 14 foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death, hole 18, to earn his 1st Swing Thought Tour Pro Series win and the $20,000 1st place prize that comes with it. Mitchell, playing out of Atlanta, Ga., and Lower, a native of Canal Fulton, Ohio, each earned $8,960 for finishing runner-up.
The birdie putt to win the playoff almost never happened as Griffin had the opportunity to put the event away earlier with almost the same putt, only shorter. It was a tough putt, as Griffin explained, “because it’s lightning fast and so hard to read”. Putting from the same line, only 10 feet closer, Griffin missed what would have been the winning birdie putt in regulation. This time, in sudden death, Griffin drained the putt providing himself with, as he put it, “redemption”.
The win comes on the back of a solid season so far for Griffin as he had finished 13th or better in 6 of the 7 events leading up to the week including a 3rd place finish at Disney and a T2 in Tallahassee. With his lone Swing Thought Tour win coming previously in a winter event, Griffin made a statement by grabbing his first Pro Series win against one the largest and most competitive fields the Swing Thought has had this season, thanks in large part to the Swing Thought Tour’s recent acquisition of the eGolf Tour.
“With the Swing Thought Tour and eGolf Tour combining, it’s a great feeling getting a win against the best of the best both tours have to offer,” stated Griffin, “it’s an honor to have won at such a special event and such a special place as the River Golf Club, my favorite course I’ve played on this tour all year.”
Former Alabama-Birmingham standout Hunter Hawkins out of Fort Payne, Ala., the 3rd member of the final grouping Saturday, shot a final round 70 to finish at 17 under par and in a tie for 6th with Scott Vincent out of Blacksburg, Va. and defending Kandy Waters Memorial Classic Champion J.C. Horne out of Ormond Beach, Fla. Vincent played collegiately at Virginia Tech while Horne, a member of the Web.com Tour this season, starred at North Florida. Hawkins, Horne, and Vincent each received $4,460 for finishing T6. Horne shot a final round 64 to move up 5 spots from T11 to T6.
Former University of South Carolina star Caleb Sturgeon, out of Laurens, S.C., finished solo 4th at -19 earning $6,760 while St. Simons Island, Ga. native Bobby Wyatt, who is competing in his rookie season as a professional after leading the University of Alabama to back to back National Championships, finished alone in 5th and earned $5,760.
Augusta’s Chase Parker was the top local player finishing in a tie for 12th with last week’s winner and former Auburn University star Will McCurdy, who now makes Auburn his home. Both players played all four rounds in the 60’s to finish at 14 under par.
First round leader Eric Frazetta, out of Long Beach, Cal., shot rounds of 61-71-71-69 to finish at 12 under par and in 16th place. The 1st round 61 by the former Chico State star set a new course record at the River Golf Club, a facility which hosted the 1st ever Kandy Waters Memorial Classic. The score was an accomplishment indeed considering the hundreds of top professionals, the likes of Major Champions such as Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis, who have competed on this course in this event (then as the NGA/Hooters Tour). Some other PGA TOUR winners to have competed in the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic include Brian Harman, Kevin Streelman, Camilo Villegas, and Augusta’s own Vaughn Taylor. This season’s leading money winner on the Web.com Tour, Patton Kizzire, finished tied for 2nd in this event just two seasons ago.
The Swing Thought Tour would like to thank River Golf Club Director of Golf Chris Verdery, Head Course Superintendent Patrick Murphy, and the Members, Volunteers, and Staff at the River Golf Club for once again hosting and bringing the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic, one of the signature events of the Swing Thought Tour, back home!
For full 2015 Kandy Waters Memorial Classic results visit:
Next up for the Swing Thought Tour is the Woodcreek Classic at the Members Club at Woodcreek in Elgin, S.C. August 26 – 29. Competitors may sign up for the Woodcreek Classic and any other Swing Thought Tour event by contacting the Swing Thought Tour offices at 800-992-8748 or going online to register at http://www.swingthought.com/shop/.
For more information on the new Swing Thought Tour visit SwingThought.com or call 800-992-8748.
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Past Kandy Waters Memorial Classic Winners and Runners-up:
Winner - J.C. Horne, 2nd – Casey Clendenon
Winner – Riley Wheeldon, 2nd – Brian Richey/Patton Kizzire
Winner – Robby Ormand, 2nd – Nick Rousey
Winner – Ryan Blaum, 2nd – Brian Harman
Winner – Lee Williams, 2nd – Matthew Anderson
Winner – Joe Affrunti, 2nd – Casey Crain
Winner – Chip Deason, 2nd – Michael Lavery/Jim Renner
Winner – Casey Wittenberg, 2nd – Bruce McDonald/Shawn Stefani/Michael Lavery/Kevin Streelman
Winner – Steve Gilley, 2nd – Kenneth Staton
Winner – Camilo Villegas, 2nd – Matthew Anderson
Winner – Greg Boyette, 2nd – Scott Pierce
Winner – Kyle Owen, 2nd – Vaughn Taylor
Winner – Elliott Gealy, 2nd – Zach Johnson
Winner – Justin Bolli, 2nd – David Dyer
Winner - Jamie Rogers, 2nd – Ray Franz