Ty Griggs arrived in Pasadena hoping for a top-three finish in the 4th annual Veritas International Junior Golf Festival and AAU Jr. Olympic Golf Championship.
He adjusted his goal after a scorching start to the three-day tournament — also known as the Veritas World Junior — that started last Tuesday, July 21 at Brookside Golf Club.
“It was definitely the biggest tournament I’ve played in,” the 13-year-old Mantecan said. “I just wanted to finish top three, but after the first day I was looking to win it.”
He did so decisively, finishing 9-under-par 216 and seven strokes better than runner-up Eric Kwak of Walnut Creek. Although three of the top-five finishers are Northern Californians, it was an international event that included three players from Australia, two from the Philippines and others from South Africa, Columbia, Chile and Lesotho in the boys 13-year-old division.
“That was cool getting to meet other people from around the world,” Griggs said.
And they were all chasing him from the start. His opening day began on the back nine at Brookside Golf Club, where three consecutive par-five holes awaited him … Birdie, eagle, eagle.
He had just one blemish — a double bogey on the par-four fourth hole — on his Day 1 scorecard, as he rolled to a 7-under 75 finish.
“I really got it going on my first nine,” Griggs said. “That was definitely a good motivation to play well the rest of the way. I ended up with three eagles.”
No other player in the division carded a sub-70 score in the three days. Griggs carried six-stroke leads into the second and third days. Griggs was among the winners honored at the medal awards ceremony held at AMC Theaters in Downtown Disney last Friday.
It’s been a busy summer for the incoming eighth grader at Neil Hafley Elementary School. Griggs has won seven tournaments since June 15 and is ranked No. 2 in the points standings for the Junior Golf Association of Northern California. He’s also 25th in the NCGA’s Junior Tour of Northern California and aims to crack the American Junior Golf Association circuit.
In 19 JGANC events this year, he’s had 17 top-fives with wins in the Robert O’Brien Memorial, Yuba-Sutter Independent Insurance Agents Big I, Green Valley Junior, San Joaquin Valley Junior, Ty Caplin Memorial and Oakdale Rotary Junior Classic. Earlier this month he had second-place finishes in the JGANC/NCGA Nor-Cal Players Championship and George Maroney Junior.
Winning the Veritas World Junior earned Griggs an exemption for the IMG Academy Junior World Championships-Florida Challenge on Dec. 13-16.
His parents don’t mind the travelling. His father, John Griggs, used to coach Little League and travel-ball before Ty decided to drop the bat and mitt for tees and irons. John and his wife, Kerry, take little credit for their son’s success.
“We just kind of get him there and he does the rest,” John said.
Griggs started golfing at age 8 and has been hooked since. A pupil of East Union coach and Manteca Park Golf Course youth instructor Dennis Wells, Griggs spends up to six or seven days at his home track on weeks he is not participating in tournaments.
“He pretty much lives (at Manteca Park GC) Kerry said. “It’s his second home.”