Lanto Griffin returns home to host junior golf tournament at Blacksburg Country Club

The first Lanto Junior Championship runs through Thursday at Blacksburg Country Club.
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - From playing at Blacksburg Country Club as a junior to now hosting a tournament there with his name on it, Lanto Griffin’s golf journey has come full circle.

“The [American Junior Golf Association] reached out to me last year and asked if I’d be interested in hosting an event and said there wasn’t an event in Virginia,” said Griffin. “So, that was a quick yes, and we got to work on it and, about 10 months later, here we are.”

The first Lanto Junior Championship runs through Thursday at Blacksburg Country Club, featuring 78 boys and girls from around the country from the age of 12 to 19.

“I’ve seen some incredible golf swings,” said Griffin. “I’ve seen some kids that look like they could play on the PGA Tour and I’ve seen some kids that don’t look like they’re in high school. It’s really cool to see how deep golf is now and just how much talent there is.”

Griffin’s own career has also blossomed since his days playing in Blacksburg and in college at VCU.

He earned his first win at the 2019 Houston Open, and played in his first TOUR Championship last fall, finishing 18th in the FedExCup standings.

Besides playing in bigger events on the TOUR calendar, Griffin said his success has helped him give back even more through events like this week’s tournament.

“I still feel the same inside,” he said. “I’m still the same person, but having the platform to be able to do some good around the area and raise some money is kind of a dream because, when I grew up, I had a lot of people help me. So, that’s the goal going forward, to be able to give back and be the person that helped me when I needed it most.”

And as Griffin gears up for the U.S. Open next week at Torrey Pines, he’s reminding those hoping to follow in his footsteps to savor the journey.

“I remember feeling like every putt back in junior golf and all that meant the world,” he said. “And now, looking back, it really wasn’t that serious. Try to lower expectations a little bit to take some pressure off you, and usually, when you do that, you even play better.

“I’ve just been telling everybody to have some fun, thanks for being here, and hopefully we’ll see them playing in college and someday on the PGA TOUR.”

For more info on the Lanto Junior Championship, visit the tournament website.

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