It was May 2, 2011, when Lanto Griffin shot a blistering 65 in a Monday qualifier to win a coveted spot in the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Four days later, after posting rounds of 75-74 and missing the 36-hole cut, the then-mini-tour pro from Blacksburg, age 22 , remained undeterred from chasing his a lifelong dream.
“They will know me one day. I’m going to be back here,” an unfazed Griffin said .
Six seasons later, Griffin’s chance to make good on his promise is finally in sight.
Starting Thursday in Portland, Oregon, Griffin will take aim at securing his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 wraparound season in the Web.com Tour’s regular-season finale at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Witch Hollow Course.
Griffin heads into the 72-hole tournament at No. 22 on the Web.com Tour’s money list with $166,889. Ohio native Ethan Tracy is No. 23 at $161,211, followed by No. 24 Roberto Diaz of Mexico at $155,023 and No. 25 Beau Hossler of California at $154,966. Another four players stand within $30,670 of Griffin.
That said, the permutations of who winds up where on the money list are basically incalculable at this point.
For certain, the circuit’s top 25 money-earners will pocket their PGA Tour cards for next season. Those inside the top 75 will earn full status on the 2018 Web.com Tour, plus a chance to earn a PGA Tour card via the four-tournament Web.com Tour finals that run Aug. 31 through Oct. 1.
“I’m in a really good spot,” said Griffin, speaking via cell phone Tuesday night from outside a Portland restaurant. “Basically what I’m telling myself is when I turned 29 [June 15] that I had made 4,800 bucks this year and now I have a chance to get my PGA Tour card.
“I could miss the cut and get my card pretty easy or I could make the cut and not get it. It’s just the way the cards fall. I’m looking at it as if I finish top 20 this week, that I’m a lock.”
Griffin turned his rookie season around when he broke through for his first Web.com victory in Nashville on July 2. It kick-started a run in which he has made eight consecutive 36-hole cuts. He had failed to make a paycheck in six of seven events before winning in the Music City.