Golf Club of Houston
Winner’s Share: $1,350,000
Goals set. Goals achieved.
Playing out of the final twosome, overnight leader (by one) and World No. 176 Lanto Griffin styled a 3-under-par 33-36=69 in Sunday’s final round for a 72-hole tally of 14-under 274, good for a one-shot victory over runners-up Scott Harrington (67) and playing competitor Mark Hubbard (69).
In his second season, the 31-year-old, a pre-tourney 50/1 outright, claims his first TOUR title in 33 events and his first top 10, supplanting a previous-best T11 at the Sanderson Farms in Mississippi three starts ago. This week, he was in the top 10 after 54 holes for the first time in his career, and his 54-hole lead was his first lead/co-lead after any round (in 97 rounds played).
Griffin wins in his second Houston Open after a missed cut by five in the last edition played in 2018 (71-75).
Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):
1- (-14) Lanto Griffin (50/1)
2- (-13) Scott Harrington (150/1)
2- (-13) Mark Hubbard (100/1)
4- (-11) Harris English (40/1)
4- (-11) Xinjun Zhang (66/1)
4- (-11) Talor Gooch (150/1)
4- (-11) Carlos Ortiz (66/1)
4- (-11) Sepp Straka (125/1)
Note: Repeat top-10 finishers in the event: NONE
Griffin’s Position by Round:
R1: T4 (2 back)
R2: T17 (6 back)
R3: 1 (by 1)
The California native, who grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, lost his card after his rookie campaign in 2018 (171st in the FedExCup standings). He batted .500 that season with 13 made and 13 missed cuts, recording one top-25 finish (T12, Farmers).
The VCU alum didn’t make a single start on the main stage in 2019, but made his way back to the big leagues after an 8th-place finish on the Korn Ferry Tour priority ranking last season, highlighted by his second win on that tour at the Robert Trent Jones Championship (in Alabama).
The Northeast Florida resident had been a model of consistency this season, checking in with four consecutive top 25s in as many events, and, dating to 2018, had made 12 cuts in a row.
He took that consistency to the next level on Sunday and crossed the finish line, despite being his fifth straight week of competition.
At last week’s Shriners in Las Vegas, Griffin was T6 at the midpoint before fading to T18. By his own admission, he ran out of gas.
Without a chance to win on Sunday at TPC Summerlin, Griffin wanted to at least try to finish in the top 10 – to cross that off his list of goals, which he keeps on his smartphone by the way – but a double bogey-5 on the 71st hole ended that.
This week due to a weather-delayed second round on Friday, he had to play 23 holes on Saturday.
Griffin was 2-under thru 13 holes in R2 and in a great position, T3 (two back) on 8-under total, when play was suspended due to darkness.
When play resumed on Saturday morning, he stumbled to a 4-over finish in his final five holes, lowlighted by a double bogey-6 on 18 (second shot in the water) for 74.
Ultimately, that dropped Griffin 13 spots to T17, six back, and perhaps we were out of gas again.
Well, not so fast.
He answered the 74 (2 birdies, 2 bogeys, 1 double) with a lap-low 65 in R3 later on Saturday (9 birdies, 2 bogeys), gaining 6.987 strokes against the field and vaulting him 16 places into one-shot lead.
“So, coming back the next morning (Saturday), it was cold and windy and I played them (five holes) in 4-over and that just pissed me off because I was hitting it good and I was putting good. I used that as motivation.”
Griffin on Sunday:
After opening with 66-74-65, he began with a one-shot lead over The Woodlands, Texas, resident Hubbard.
Griffin landed 11 (of 14) fairways and 16 greens in regulation, losing 1.133 strokes around-the-green but gaining 1.684 off-the-tee and 1.301 on approach.
He squared two bogeys at holes 4 (3-putt from 47'9") and 11, outflanked by five birdies at 1, 3, 5, 8 and 16, highlighted by a 33'4" bomb at the par-3 16th.
That birdie on 16 gave Griffin a one-shot lead over Hubbard and Harrington, who was in on 13-under with a 67 out of the fourth-to-last twosome.
Griffin missed the fairway at the par-4 18th, leaving 203 yards out of the right rough, but was able to find the surface.
He two-putted from 59’2”, including a 5’11” come-backer, which he stated was similar to his winning putt on the junior circuit last season.
Hubbard found the fairway and the green in regulation, but missed birdie to tie from 27’0”.
Griffin posted 1.750 putts per GIR and -0.160 SG: Putting with 31 total putts, wrapping the week with 24 birdies, No. 1 in that stat, versus eight bogeys and one double. He entered the week as the season leader in birdies with 70.
OUT: 3-under 33 (4 birdies, 1 bogey); co-leads (with Hubbard)
IN: even-par 36 (1 birdie, 1 bogey); WINS by one
Griffin’s story was his four consecutive top 25s on arrival, and speaking of, he also finished top 25 in all five strokes gained sub-categories this week, led by a 7th in SG: Putting (5.830) and 7th in SG: Tee-to-Green (7.648).
With the win, he’s now No. 1 in the FEC standings and earns a host of goodies, including invites to his first PLAYERS Championship and his first Masters.
“…just thinking about it (Augusta National) is an absolute joke to me, that I’m going to be there. There are so many different things that I can’t even fathom are going to happen after this week. I’m just grateful that I pulled it off and we can enjoy it.”
Cross some more goals off the list.
How Griffin Won the Tournament:
Ranked 1st (or T1) in: Total Birdies; Birdie to Bogey Ratio; Putts per GIR
Ranked 2nd(or T2) in: N/A
Note: See “Strokes Gained Leaders Stats” at the bottom, along with his full stats.
Lowest-Ranked Stat(s): Proximity to Hole (56th); GIR (T48); Driving Accuracy (T46); Driving Distance -all drives (T43)
Griffin at the Houston Open:
Top 25s: 1
Top 10s: 1
Cuts Made: 5
Top 25s: 5
Top 10s: 1
Season Form: 1-18-17-11-13
Griffin’s TOUR Career:
Cuts Made: 18 (54.5%)
Top 25s: 6 (18.1%)
Top 10s: 1 (3.0%)
Top 3s: 1 (3.0%)
Wins: 1 (3.0%)
By the Numbers:
11/4: Griffin’s revised outright betting entering R4.
Top 3: The top-3 finishers this week were all Korn Ferry Tour grads from last season.
T2: Harrington and Hubbard’s T2s were both career bests.
4: Hubbard was the only player to record all four rounds in the 60s (68-69-69-69).
3: English, playing this season on conditional status (149th in FEC), leads the TOUR in top 10s this season with three, two of those for top 5s. He recorded zero top 10s last season in 28 starts.
T4: Zhang’s T4 is a career best. It’s his third straight top 25 and second top 10 in five starts.
2018: Ian Poulter, the defending champ (from 2018), DNP. He opted for the Italian Open on the European Tour and MC.
T2: Harrington’s T2 (69-67-72-67) was good for top debutant (of 42) as well as top rookie (of 20).
0: Through five (non-team) events this season, the pre-tourney fave/co-fave won zero times. Last season, two fave/co-faves won (in 45 non-team events): Rory McIlroy (12/1 co-fave) at THE PLAYERS, and Collin Morikawa at the Barracuda (10/1).
9/1: World No. 37 Henrik Stenson, 43, was a pre-tourney 9/1 fave outright and the top-ranked OWGRer. He missed the cut by two on 2-over 146 (72-74) in his season debut, his first MC since THE PLAYERS back in March (13 starts ago), and second at the Houston Open in eight tries, second in his last three. In the last edition played in 2018, Stenson was bogey-free thru 36 holes for the first time in 176 career events before finishing T6 (68-68-69-69).
2: With the move from before the Masters to a fall event, only two players from the OWGR top 50 were here. Stenson and No. 43 Keegan Bradley. Both missed the cut.
30: Beau Hossler, P2 in the last edition played in 2018, was inside the top 10 after 54 holes (T3) for the first time in 30 starts. The last time was T8 at the 2018 Dell Tech Champ in Sep. 2018. He was attempting to become the first player since 2008 (Ryuji Imada, AT&T Classic) to win after losing in a playoff the last time the event was played. The Texas product ended with 72 (2 birdies, 2 bogeys) out of the penultimate twosome, falling 10 places to T13.
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 72ndHouston Open, 14th and 14th consecutive at the GC of Houston. The tourney is moving to its new permanent home, Memorial Park (in downtown Houston), next season.
Par 72 (36-36)
R2: 73.29; contested over two days
Lanto Griffin: 66-74-65-69
SG: Total: 13.480
A total of 78 players (77 pros, 1 amateur) from a field of 143 pros and one amateur made the 36-hole cut of even-par 144:
41 (of 68) EARLY/late; 4 WDs
37 (of 70) LATE/early; 2 WDs
5 (of 49) tourneys so far this season with a traditional draw:
EARLY/late: 4 (Griffin)
Strength of Field:
With a Strength of Field rating of 72 – down 228 from the last edition in 2018 when played the week before the Masters – Griffin banks 24.00 world-ranking points:
OWGR: From 176 to 108 (up 68); career high
FedExCup: From 11 to 1 (up 10); career high
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Austin Cook (finished: T17): Drops to 0-for-1 as 18-hole leader/co-leader
R1: Talor Gooch (T4): Drops to 0-for-1
R2: Peter Malnati (T17): Drops to 0-for-2 as 36-hole leader/co-leader
R3: Lanto Griffin (Won): Improves to 1-for-1 as 54-hole leader/co-leader
R2: 65: Peter Malnati
R3: 65: Lanto Griffin
R4: 65: Maverick McNealy
R3: (1): Brice Garnett (70)
Multiple Bogey-free Rounds:
3 winners were in their 20s
2 was in their 30s (Griffin age: 31)
0 were in their 40s
Season Leaders in Top-10 Finishes:
Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:
3: Justin Thomas (4-3-1)
3: Tony Finau (9-7-4)
2: Denny McCarthy (9-9)
2: Adam Hadwin (4-2)
2: Viktor Hovland (10-4)
2: Kevin Kisner (9-9)
Consecutive Top-10 Streak Ended at:
Griffin’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 78 players):
Birdies: 24 (1st)
Bogeys: 8 (T20)
Double Bogeys: 1 (T23)
Birdie or Better: 33.33% (1st)
Birdie to Bogey Ratio: 2.67 (4th)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.88 (T8)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.88 (T3)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.56 (T22)
Driving Accuracy: 33/56 (T46) at 58.93%
Driving Distance (all drives): 282.0 yards (T43)
Proximity to Hole: 36’11” (56th)
Putts per GIR: 1.604 (1st)
Total Putts: 107 (T4)
Putts by Round: 26-27-23-31
Scrambling: 16/24 (T20) at 66.67%
Leaders in Strokes Gained Stats:
1. Doc Redman (7.084)
2. Brice Garnett (5.294)
3. Sebastian Cappelen (4.930)
4. Brandon Wu (4.746)
5. Scottie Scheffler (4.733)
14. Lanto Griffin (3.565)
1. Boo Weekley (10.160)
2. Scott Harrington (7.924)
3. Braden Bailey (7.730)
4. Martin Laird (7.013)
5. Ryan Armour (6.678)
24. Lanto Griffin (2.432)
1. Peter Malnati (4.421)
2. Carlos Ortiz (4.102)
3. Kramer Hickok (4.073)
4. Beau Hossler (3.509)
5. Ryan Armour (3.066)
23. Lanto Griffin (1.651)
1. Dominic Bozzelli (8.730)
2. James Hahn (6.563)
3. Zac Blair (6.545)
4. Talor Gooch (6.476)
5. Rich Beem (6.203)
7. Lanto Griffin (5.830)
1. Scott Harrington (13.108)
2. Ryan Armour (11.556)
3. Boo Weekley (11.264)
4. Sepp Straka (10.644)
5. Rafael Campos (8.516)
7. Lanto Griffin (7.648)