Grif­fin’s tak­ing his game to a new level

The Ambler Gazette - - 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. 7KH fiUVW PDWFKHV IRU VRPH ORFDO school teams will come on Mon­day.

In this area last fall, there was no bet­ter high school player than Wis­saKLFNRn’V -DOHn GULIfin.

AV D VRSKRPRUH, GULIfin wRn WKH pub­ur­ban lne Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence LnGLYLGuDO WLWOH, TuDOL­fiHG IRU GLVWULFWV, re­gion­als and the state cham­pi­onship, wKHUH KH KDG D WRS-20 finLVK.

This sum­mer, his game and his char­ac­ter have only risen to new heights. Last month, he set a new tour­na­ment record at the Christ­man Cup, a Golf As­so­ci­a­tion of Philadel­phia ju­nior event played on Me­rion’s West CRuUVH, wKLFK GULIfin EOLVWHUHG IRU D 3S-hole to­tal of T-un­der-par, his 133 to­tal a new tour­ney record.

GULIfin, wKR uS WR WKDW SRLnW KDG D ca­reer-low of ST on the same West CRuUVH, SRVWHG D finDO-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 SODFHG IRuUWK DnG GULIfin wDV VHFRnG 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 good sumPHU, EuW GULIfin LV UHDGy IRU WKH 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,” GULIfin VDLG RI WKH KLJK VFKRRO VHDVRn, “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. vou get to have fun with your team. “I re­ally like this time of the year.” GULIfin LV nRw 16 DnG DW 5-IRRW-5 and 110 pounds 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.

ptill, no one is more crit­i­cal of Grif­fin WKDn KH LV Rn KLPVHOI, KDYLnJ WDVWHG suc­cess and know­ing he wants more of it.

“lver­all, I’m harder on 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 uS WKH 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.

6WLOO, GULIfin KDV nRW ORVW 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 VDLG.

7KLV yHDU, GULIfin KDV not only been play­ing in tour­na­ments and play­ing for WURSKLHV RU WRS finLVKHV, WKH 1S-year-old is play­ing for a cause. A fam­ily friend of the GULIfin IDPLOy LV D 7-yHDUold boy stricken with epilepsy. Through the AJGA and WKH 86G$, GULIfin KDV EHHn rais­ing money for CUoE Epilepsy (Cit­i­zens United for oe­search in Epilep­syF. His goal is $5,000. po far, he is a lit­tle over half­way there.

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

The AJGA (Amer­i­can Ju­nior Golf As­so­ci­a­tionF has a pro­gram called Lead­er­ship Links, where play­ers can UDLVH PRnHy RnOLnH. 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,” VDLG GULIfin, wKR KDV 58 such birdies. “That’s a huge mo­ti­va­tion thing for me. At Me­rion (in the Christ­manF, 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.”

7KH ELUGLHV GULIfin PDNHV in high school matches will not count to­ward his char­ity, but that will not stop him from try­ing to make as many as he can. He wants to lead the Tro­jans to a pub­ur­ban lne Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence 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 -DOHn GULIfin’V IunGUDLVLnJ for epilepsy, go to the fol­low­ing linkW

http­sWLLwww.ajga.orgL PIFLHomePagesLin­dex2. asp?UID=12103S#

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / GENE WALSH

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

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