Lanto Griffin’s string of solid results in the spring and early summer put him into position to return to the PGA Tour next season. It became official on Sunday night.
Griffin, Blacksburg High and VCU graduate, was one of 25 members of the Korn Ferry Tour to receive their PGA Tour cards on Sunday as a result of finishing in the top 25 of the Korn Ferry points standings for the regular season, which concluded with the WinCo Foods Portland (Ore.) Open on Sunday.
Griffin, who made 14 of 19 cuts this season on the tour, which changed its name from the Web.com Tour midway through the year, finished sixth in the standings with 1,228 points. The majority of those came between mid-April and mid-July, when he made eight of nine cuts and finished in the top 25 in all eight of those tournaments.
Griffin also finished tied for fourth in July’s Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
With his PGA Tour card in hand, Griffin will work on improving his playing status over the next three weeks during the Korn Ferry playoffs. The top 25 players from the playoff pool, which consists of the top 70 in points on the Korn Ferry Tour and those who placed between 130 and 200 on the PGA Tour and lost their status on that circuit, will also earn cards.
Players with Virginia ties who qualified for the playoffs include former UVa golfers Jimmy Stanger (41st) and Ben Kohles (51st), as well as Drew Weaver (36th), the former British Amateur champion from Virginia Tech.
Decker off to good start at state senior am
HOT SPRINGS — Martinsville’s Keith Decker was one of just three golfers to break par in the first round of qualifying at the VSGA Senior Amateur tournament, being played on the Cascades Course at the Omni Homestead.
Decker’s 1-under-par 69 put him two shots behind stroke play leader Buck Brittain of Tazewell, who has won the tournament on two previous occasions.
Salem golfers Darrell Craft and Jack Allara are both tied for 15th after posting first-round 75s. Mark Funderburke of Roanoke is also in that group of 75s.
The low 32 scorers on Tuesday will advance to match play, which begins on Wednesday. Due to weather concerns in the afternoon, play will begin at 8:30 a.m., with groups going off both the first and 10th tees.