Lanto Griffin hailed the influence of Steve Prater after earning his maiden PGA Tour win at Sunday’s Houston Open. Griffin spent most of the final round battling it out with Mark Hubbard and Scott Harrington but held his nerve in Texas, birdieing the 16th and then holing out on the last for a par to claim the spoils on 14-under and take him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.
Both Harrington and Hubbard finished a shot behind, with Harris English part of a five-way tie for fourth. Speaking afterwards, an emotional Griffin was quick to pay tribute to his mentor, Prater, who has guided him through the game following the death of the player’s father, including buying him clubs for Christmas 1996.
The 31-year-old was quick to credit his instructor for the work put into him both on and off the course, describing him as a “special person”. “I wouldn’t be here without him,” Griffin said. “He opened every door in golf that I ever had, teaching me for free, giving me a membership.
He’s had my back the entire journey. “It’s been a great relationship. He’s such a special person. At the time, when you’re doing those things, you don’t realize how beneficial they can be. Only later in life, you understand that those things were really important for him.”