Griffin posts best Web.com finish at Suncoast Classic

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LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — Wilson’s John-Tyler (J.T.) Griffin, the co-leader at the midway point, posted his best finish in a Web.com Tour event by finishing fifth in the inaugural LECOM Suncoast Classic that concluded Sunday on the par 36-36—72, 7,184-yard Lakewood National Golf Club layout.

The 31-year-old Griffin, in his first 2019 Web.com outing, fired rounds of 63-65-71-69 for a 20-under-par 268 total and six shots behind champion Mark Hubbard (26-under).

Griffin, whose previous best Web.com showing was a tie for 14th, earned a spot in the field with a 7-under-par 65 in last Monday’s qualifier.

His opening 63 represented the lowest round posted during the four days of four rounds, totaling 72 holes. The showing left Griffin deadlocked for the 42nd spot on the Tour points list with 110.

In Thursday’s opening round, Griffin stood at 8-under when play was suspended and he had three holes left. He was tied for the lead at the time. Play resumed Friday morning and Griffin added another birdie to claim sole possession of the top spot. His 31-32 round consisted of nine birdies and nine pars.

In Friday’s second round, Griffin, now a resident of the Atlanta area, carded a 33-32---65 with 10 birdies and slipped into a tie for the lead with Maverick McNealy, the eventual runner-up.

Griffin fashioned four birdies and an eagle in Saturday’s third round but faded slightly with a 1-under 37-34---71. Four birdies and an eagle in Sunday’s final round was enough to lift Griffin to a 3-under 37-32---69 and to a fifth-place finish.

In 72 holes, Griffin, Fike High’s first North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A individual champion, amassed 27 birdies and two eagles. He slammed 44 of his 52 drives into the fairway for 84.62-percent accuracy and hit 52-of-72 greens in regulation for 72.22-percent accuracy. Griffin averaged 309.4 yards per drive with a longest drive of 338 yards. His putting norm was just under 1.7 per green.

Hubbard seized his first web.com victory with a showing of 65-66-64-67---262 and earned $99,000 of the $550,000 payout. McNealy came away the runner-up at 64-64-69-67---264.

Deadlocking for third place at 265 were Rick Lamb at 68-67-66-64 and Jimmy Stanger at 66-66-65-68.

The top-five finish qualified Griffin, a product of Fike and Georgia Tech, for the Tour’s next event — the Chitimacha Louiisiana Open, scheduled for March 21-24 at Broussard, Louisiana. The Web.com Tour is the final stop before reaching the PGA Tour.