Grif­fin’s tak­ing his game to a new level

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - OPINION - By Tom Ker­rane

It may seem like there is plenty of sum­mer left, but be­lieve it or not, the fall high school golf sea­son is al­ready upon us.

7hH fiUsW PDWFhHs IRU sRPH lo­cal school teams will come on Mon­day.

In this area last fall, there was no bet­ter high school player than Wis­sahickon’s -DlHn GULIfin.

As a sopho­more, Grif­fin wRn WhH 6uEuUEDn 2nH Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence in­diYLGuDl WLWlH, TuDlL­fiHG IRU GLstricts, re­gion­als and the state cham­pi­onship, where he had D WRp-20 finLsh.

This sum­mer, his game and his char­ac­ter have only risen to new heights. Last month, he set a new tour­na­ment record at t he Christ­man Cup, a Golf As­so­ci­a­tion of Philadel­phia ju­nior event played on Me­rion’s West Course, which Grif­fin blis­tered for a 36-hole to­tal of 7-un­der­par, his 133 to­tal a new tour­ney record.

GULIfin, whR up WR WhDW point had a ca­reer-low of 67 on the same West Course, pRsWHG D finDl-URunG 65 Ln win­ning the Christ­man.

He was one of four ju­niors to rep­re­sent the GAP at the pres­ti­gious Wil­liamson Cup, where the GAP team placed IRuUWh DnG GULIfin wDs sHFond in­di­vid­u­ally among top ju­nior play­ers from 10 dif­fer­ent re­gional golf as­so­ci­a­tions.

Along the way, he has been at­tend­ing golf camps and tour­na­ments across the coun­try, and tak­ing an early look at some pos­si­ble col­lege des­ti­na­tions.

All in all, it has been a JRRG suPPHU, EuW GULIfin Ls ready for the less-hec­tic pace of his ju­nior year at Wis­sahickon and play­ing for the Tro­jans golf team.

“This comes at a great time for me af­ter play­ing in all these tour­na­ments,” Grif­fin sDLG RI WhH hLJh sFhRRl sea­son, “to come out and play nine holes of golf with a bunch of guys you’ve known for many years, and with your team­mates who you see ev­ery day. You get to have fun with your team.

“I re­ally like this time of the year.”

GULIfin Ls nRw 16 DnG DW 5-IRRW-5 DnG 110 pRunGs soak­ing wet, will not be mis­taken for a line­backer on the football team any time soon. But he can sure hit a golf ball, not the long­est player off the tee, but of­ten the most ac­cu­rate and more of­ten than not earn­ing hon­ors for hit­ting off the next tee.

6WLll, nR RnH Ls PRUH FULWLFDl RI GULIfin WhDn hH Ls Rn him­self, hav­ing tasted suc­cess and know­ing he wants more of it.

“2YHUDll, ,’P hDUGHU Rn my­self now,” said the Talam­ore CC mem­ber. “I know what I’ve been able to shoot and I know I should be able to go out there and shoot a good num­ber. If I shoot a bad num­ber, I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed be­cause I be­lieve I can do what the kids at the top are do­ing.

“I try to look back on good rounds I’ve shot and know I can come back.”

GULIfin WRRN up WhH JDPH be­cause he en­joyed it. As he was im­prov­ing, it was fun. Now, he has ad­vanced to a level where much is expected of ev­ery round he plays and the lo­cal and na­tional tour­na­ments he has en­tered in come with much ad­di­tional pres­sure. All high school ath­letes feel the pres­sure of play­ing for a po­ten­tial col­lege schol­ar­ship.

6WLll, GULIfin hDs nRW lRsW sight of the fun side of the sport, the idea of just go­ing out and play­ing a round, and the peo­ple one meets on the golf course.

“That’s the awe­some part of play­ing golf to me,” Grif­fin sDLG.

7hLs yHDU, GULIfin hDs nRW only been play­ing in tour­na­ments and play­ing for WURphLHs RU WRp finLshHs, the 16-year-old is play­ing for a cause. A fam­ily IULHnG RI WhH GULIfin IDPLly is a 7-year-old boy stricken with epilepsy. Through the $-G$ DnG WhH U6G$, GULIfin hDs EHHn UDLsLnJ PRnHy for CURE Epilepsy (Cit­i­zens United for Re­search in Epilepsy). His goal is $5,000. 6R IDU, hH Ls D lLWWlH over half­way there.

“I al­ways wanted to do some­thing to give back sRPHWhLnJ,” GULIfin sDLG. “, al­ways had that idea in my head. I never knew what to do.”

The AJGA (Amer­i­can Ju- nior Golf As­so­ci­a­tion) has a pro­gram called Lead­er­ship Links, where play­ers can UDLsH PRnHy Rn­lLnH. GULIfin re­ceives ei­ther one-time do­na­tions or mone­tary spon­sors based on the num­ber of birdies he has in spon­sored tour­na­ments.

“I am get­ting al­most $10 for ev­ery birdie I make in a na­tional tour­na­ment,” said GULIfin, whR hDs 58 suFh birdies. “That’s a huge mo­ti­va­tion thing for me. At Me­rion (in the Christ­man), I was able to give a huge boost for them.

“It’s a great feel­ing to go out and make a birdie and know you’re do­ing some­thing for some­one else by do­ing that. It’s in your head, you just raised $10 to help fam­i­lies with epilepsy.”

7hH ELUGLHs GULIfin PDNHs in high school matches will not count to­ward his char- ity, but that will not stop him from try­ing to make as many as he can. He wants to lead WhH 7URMDns WR D 6uEuUEDn 2nH $PHULFDn CRnIHUHnFH cham­pi­onship, some­thing he has yet to achieve but wants badly.

And he still has other tour­na­ments in which he will play this fall, ones where birdies will count on his score­card and to­ward his other goal, as well.

For more in­for­ma­tion on -DlHn GULIfin’s IunGUDLsLnJ for epilepsy, go to the fol­low­ing link:

ht t ps : / / www. a j ga. org/ PIF/Home­Pages/in­dex2. asp?UID=121036#

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / GENE WALSH

Jalen Grif­fin at the Montco Am­a­teur Ju­nior Golf tour­na­ment at the Ply­mouth Coun­try Club.

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