Talamore’s Griffin keeps soaring, tops U.S. Junior Am. Qualifier - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 28, 2013

Talamore’s Griffin keeps soaring, tops U.S. Junior Am. Qualifier

 TELFORD, Pa. — What a week it’s been for Talamore Country Club’s Jalen Griffin.

  Three days ago, he broke a Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Boys’ Championship scoring record by carding a 5-under-par 67 in the tournament’s qualifying round and finished as a semifinalist. Griffin’s golf mojo continued to flow Friday; he filed a 1-under-par 143-total to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Indian Valley Country Club (par 72, 6,864 yards).

   “It’s an overwhelming feeling,” an ecstatic Griffin, 17, of Ambler, Pa., said. “I can’t wait for the Junior Amateur. I told myself I needed to get to 1 under to qualify. I definitely did that. It’s been the best week of golf ever. I rediscovered my game I guess.”

  Also advancing were Singapore’s Cheng Jin, Jeremy Wall of Brielle, N.J., and Radnor Valley Country Club’s Carey Bina, who executed a 10-footer for birdie on No. 18 to survive a three-for-one playoff. The U.S. Junior Amateur Championship will be held July 22-27 at Martis Camp Club in Truckee, Calif.

  Griffin, an incoming senior at Wissahickon High School, secured his subpar target with a birdie on the par 4, 390-yard 18th hole. Standing 132 yards from the hole location, he choked up on a pitching wedge and left it seven feet below the cup. Seconds after his golf ball left the clubface, Griffin walked toward the green with swagger.

   “It was definitely a redemption shot because in a [Golf Association of Philadelphia] Open Championship Qualifier last year,” he said, “I was 1 over going into the last hole and I needed to make a birdie to get into a playoff. I hit it into the bunker and made bogey. I was so down on myself.”

  Griffin is far from down these days. He mastered Nos. 11 (par 3, 212 yards) and 12 (par 5, 516 yards) at Indian Valley in both rounds Friday. With the wind working against the 11th tee in the morning, Griffin cut a hybrid to eight feet for birdie. His 50-yard pitch shot on the next hole landed eight feet below the flagstick and nearly crept into the jar. The domination continued in the afternoon. Since the wind reversed course then, Griffin powered a 4-iron to 40 feet on No. 11 and converted a right-to-left curler. He lofted a 30 yard chip to 10 feet for a birdie on No. 12.

  Conversely, the par 4, 371-yard No. 9 proved problematic for Griffin. In the first round, a wayward drive, followed by a poor punch-out, resulted in a bogey. Griffin learned his lesson in the afternoon, starting his drive right and finding the fairway. However, a thick sand wedge from 97 yards again scribed a square (bogey) on the scorecard.

Standing at even par with five holes remaining, Griffin ran into trouble on the 14th hole (par 4, 381 yards). He steered his drive into the left tree-line, but still had an opening to the flagstick. Griffin then tried to swing hook an 8-iron from 153 yards but missed the green right. He lofted a chip to four feet and lipped the par putt. On the next hole (par 5, 552 yards), Griffin relied on his trusty lob wedge — a stick that’s carved red figures all week long. He knocked it 90 yards and drained a straightway 15-footer for a fist-pumping 4.

   “That was a huge thing for me,” Griffin, the reigning GAP Christman Cup Champion, said. “In the beginning of the year, I was struggling so much. I would just blow up every single time. It was a mental problem I thought I was going to do it again, especially for this big of a tournament. That birdie calmed me down.”

  Griffin will participate in his first U.S. Junior Amateur. He missed the cut by a stroke in 2011 and withdrew a year ago because of dehydration and fatigue.

   Jin carded four birdies against three bogeys to emerge as the tournament’s 18-hole leader. He reached the par 5, 521-yard green in two strokes thanks to a wicked 3-wood. Jin stopped a 4-iron at 10 feet for a 2 on No. 6 (par 3, 207 yards). That 3-wood again paid dividends on No. 8 (par 5, 511 yards). Jin missed the green but managed to loft a chip into tap-in territory. He birdied the challenging par 4, 394-yard 17th after hitting a 52-degree wedge 130 yards to 10 feet below the flagstick. Jin ended with a slight whimper, reaching the No. 18 (par 4, 390 yards) green in regulation with a pitching wedge from 130 yards and three-putting for a somewhat sour 5. With a slim cushion over the field, Jin played his final 13 holes in 5 over to qualify.

  Jin is traveling the country to compete in golf tournaments, and a stop at Indian Valley fit his schedule. He will next compete in the AJGA Ravenwood Junior Championship July 1-4 at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor N.Y.

  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 143 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, City Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
Jalen Griffin, Ambler, Pa. 73 70 143
Cheng Jin, Singapore 71 75 146
Jeremy Wall, Brielle, N.J. 75 72 147
*Carey Bina, Villanova, Pa. 75 73 148
Alternates (in order)
*Logan Membrino, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 73 75 148
*Zach Smith, Pleasanton, Calif. 74 74 148
Failed to qualify
Andy Butler, Lititz, Pa. 76 73 149
Alec Bard, New Hartford, N.Y. 74 75 149
Jimmy Hervol, Hopkinton, Mass. 75 74 149
John Vanderlaan, Southbury, Conn. 75 75 150
Brendan Young, Malvern, Pa. 75 75 150
Matthew Naumec, Wilbraham, Mass. 74 78 152
Jack Gregor, North Wales, Pa. 74 78 152
Noah Firestone, Annville, Pa. 77 76 153
Grant Schumaker, Macungie, Pa. 77 76 153
Roland Massimino, Lumberville, Pa. 78 75 153
Caleb Bryant, New Freedom, Pa. 79 74 153
G. Reilly Erhardt, Newtown, Pa. 76 77 153
Michael Reed-Price, Dresher, Pa. 76 77 153
Jake Van Arkel, Haverford, Pa. 76 78 154
Ethan Heller, Media, Pa. 72 82 154
Collin Hagenbuch, Easton, Pa. 75 79 154
Nate Menon, Wyomissing, Pa. 78 76 154
Alex Butler, East Norriton, Pa. 78 77 155
Robert Firth, Jenkintown, Pa. 78 78 156
Vincent Palazzolo, Colts Neck, N.J. 78 78 156
Hartej Gill, Monroe Township, N.J. 79 77 156
Liam McAnally, Dowingtown, Pa. 79 77 156
Bret Howey, Nazareth, Pa. 77 79 156
Blaine Lafferty, Marlton, N.J. 82 75 157
Liam Lafferty, Marlton, N.J. 77 80 157
Jack Panagos, Hillsborough, N.J. 74 83 157
Matthew Bastian, Media, Pa. 82 75 157
Robert Diforio, White Plains, N.Y. 80 77 157
Trey Swanson, Westchester, Pa. 79 78 157
Brandan Bree, Kennett Square, Pa. 79 78 157
M. Ryan Cleary, Greenville, Del. 79 78 157
Frank Cestone, Peckville, Pa. 76 81 157
C. J. Tyler, Northumberland, Pa. 75 83 158
Michael Cook, Berwyn, Pa. 79 79 158
Michael Bliss, Newtown, Pa. 80 78 158
Paul Mauer, Philadelphia, Pa. 80 78 158
Kyle Vance, Eagleville, Pa. 81 78 159
Michael Vanderlaan, Southbury, Conn. 76 83 159
Nick Maff, Bethlehem, Pa. 75 84 159
Jack Quirk, Glenside, Pa. 81 78 159
Dominic Digiacomo, Ocean City, N.J. 84 75 159
Brian Todaro, Springfield, Pa. 82 78 160
Sebastian Naibaho, Yonkers, NY 80 81 161
Griffin Colvin, Media, Pa. 80 81 161
R. J. Wren, Morgantown, Pa. 81 81 162
Matthew Cleary, Greenville, Del. 81 81 162
Joseph Rueter Jr, Rydal, Pa. 85 77 162
David Quinn, Marlton, N.J. 80 82 162
Brett Taylor, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 80 82 162
Gary McCabe, Collegeville, Pa. 83 79 162
Michael Cestone, Peckville, Pa. 82 81 163
C. J. Zachary, Hummelstown, Pa. 87 76 163
Robert Newhouse, New York, N.Y. 84 79 163
Alejandro Velez, Harleysville, Pa. 82 81 163
Trey Croney, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 85 79 164
Gregory Szrom, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. 84 81 165
Sean Farren, Brielle, N.J. 81 85 166
Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa. 84 82 166
Nicholas Johnson, Moosic, Pa. 86 81 167
Forrest Swisher, Titusville, N.J. 85 82 167
Christopher Chiminski, Penns Park, Pa. 84 83 167
Andrew Willner, Paoli, Pa. 79 89 168
Brandon Raihl, Wernersville, Pa. 87 81 168
Drew Petri, New Hope, Pa. 89 83 172
Ryan Conner, Newtown, Pa. 90 87 177
Steven Weingroff, Upper Saddle River, N.J. 89 91 180
* – determined in playoff

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