It proved to a memorable February for Ryan Griffin as he registered a significant milestone.
The Convoy youngster is an up-and-coming talent and showed what he can do when he was the joint-winner of the Portugal event on the R&A’s Student Tour Series.
It was quite the triumph for the Maynooth University student, as he led for most of the way in the tournament, and then three successive bogeys threatened to derail his challenge.
However, a fantastic birdie secured a three-way play-off at the Triola Golf Club.
England’s Max Weaver was eliminated after the first hole, but there was no separating Griffin and his fellow Maynooth student Jordan Boles after three holes.
With the course almost in darkness, the decision was made to share the title.
It was a super achievement for Griffin and has given him a real boost as he looks ahead into a summer of golf.
“I was unlucky in a few other competitions last year so it was nice to do it in Portugal and get my first win on the books.
“It was weird the way it happened because we ran out of light so I had to share the award.
“But it gives me the confidence to know I can do it. I was delighted with it.”
Griffin is on a scholarship in Maynooth and the third-level institution do provide support with travel and accommodation.
Some of the best young golfers take part and the 21-year-old has shown that he is comfortable in that company.
“There were five events in the tour. It started over in Stirling in Scotland and then there were events in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and it finished up in St Andrew’s.
“So it’s all accumulation of how you finish for the overall order of merit.
“I finished fourth overall and had some decent finishes.
“The last event in St Andrew’s had double points so there were people climbing and falling down the leaderboard very quickly.
“It would have been nice to get in the top three but at the same time you can’t be too greedy.
“The student tour is just a building block and it gives you good confidence and experience. It’s a good standard and I feel it has brought me on.
“I’ll play in it again next year but now it’s all about the Irish events for the summer, and a few international ones too.”
Griffin’s interest in golf was sparked at a young age, and he started to take things seriously in his teenage years when he could see significant progress being made.
“My dad Tony played golf and I kind of picked it up from him really when I was around seven or eight.
“I just got really into it as I got older. In the summer time when everyone was playing football or whatever, I just would have went up to the golf club and beat about up there.
“I got into it properly then when I was around 15 or 16 and I haven’t looked back since.”
Five of the top 12 finishers at the competition in Portugal are currently studying at Maynooth.
They run a fine golf programme and Griffin and his contemporaries are able to practise at the likes of Carton House. The Marketing student says the move to Kildare has really brought him on.
“I wasn’t really too bothered about going to college to be honest unless it was to Maynooth on the golf programme. I’m happy with how it has all turned out.
“Barry Fennelly runs a good programme down there.
“The standard is serious down in Maynooth. A lot of the time if you show any potential in golf, you would head off to America on a scholarship.
“But the programme down in Maynooth is just as good and it isn’t too far away from home either.
“It’s a nice change of scenery for me. I’m there for another two years.
“I’m still playing away in Ballybofey and I have ties down in Rosapenna too.”
Griffin has a busy schedule at the minute but he is taking it all in his stride and enjoying the time being spent on the fairways.
“I played in the Irish Amateur Open down at the Island near Donabate, and I had another top ten finish there. I ended up tied for sixth.
“It was nice and then I was at the East of Ireland last weekend. I got a wee sneaky top ten there down at Baltray in Louth.
“They were four-round tournaments so it’s a lot of golf and it can be tiring.”
He added: “I’m playing in the British Amateur Open next week. That’s a massive event over in Royal Lytham.
“It’s 36 holes qualifying and then it goes to matchplay. I’ll give it a good go.
“With those kind of events, you’re more than happy to be there because they are very prestigious events to even get into.”
The future is bright for Griffin and on his current trajectory, he could possibly force a professional career in the European PGA Tour or the Challenge Tour but says he will have to consider things closely if and when that time comes.
“I’ll finish off college and see how I’m set then.
“It’s a real gamble and you don’t really know how it’s going to go in the professional ranks but I’m enjoying it at the minute anyway and that’s the main one.”
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