EDITOR'S NOTE: With the rest of the California Interscholastic Federation sports season canceled because of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Manteca/Ripon Bulletin is running a series of features honoring the top senior athletes of the spring.
The California Interscholastic Federation State Championships has eluded Tyler Griggs once again, and for the last time.
Although he has already accomplished much on the links and has a bright future ahead as a NCAA Division I golfer, the East Union senior and two-time Manteca Bulletin All-Area Male Golfer of the Year is understandably bummed out over not getting one last shot at getting to compete in the biggest tournament of the high school circuit.
“Actually, the one thing that really mattered to me the most in my whole senior year of golf was going to state, and it was taken away,” Griggs said. “I was looking forward to it. My game was coming around; I was working out and striking the ball a lot better. To have it taken away sucks.”
Griggs committed to UCLA his sophomore year and officially became a Bruin this past November when he signed his National Letter of Intent. It was during his sophomore season when he made the Northern California Golf Association/CIF Northern California Regional for the only time.
In 2019, Griggs earned the Valley Oak League’s individual title and Most Valuable Player honors for the third straight year, sharing the distinction with Ryan Meyer of team champion Oakdale. Meyer, however, went on to win the NorCal championship and play sixth in the state finale, while Griggs had his campaign cut short at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships at The Reserve at Spanos Park.
Griggs ended his junior season a stroke shy of entering a playoff for a NorCal berth. He was well positioned down the stretch at Masters but bogeyed three of his final four holes to finish 2-over 74.
Griggs and Meyer did get to reunite this year on March 3 in the first of four scheduled VOL tournaments. Meyer was low medalist at 1-under 71 at Dryden Park Golf Course, and he led the Mustangs to another team win. Griggs was second with a 78, and his Lancers were the runners-up by 29 strokes.
“We were able to start our season, but I’m definitely going to miss the guys on the team,” Griggs said. “Overall, we were getting better as a team and I thought we’d be able to compete. We wanted to give Oakdale a run for their money.
“I’m also going to miss playing with Ryan. He is a real good friend of mine, and even though we were able to compete in junior golf I wanted to get a couple more competitive rounds in with him.”
Griggs got to enter three American Junior Golf Association events since the 2019 SJS Masters, placing fifth in the AJGA Lake Las Vegas Junior, 56th in the Western Junior Championship and 50th in the AJGA Junior on Jan. 17.
Griggs is hoping he can knock off some of that tournament rust before making his way to Southern California the first week of September. Until then, he is doing what he can to keep sharp while finishing out the rest of his senior year from home.
“I’m still working out and eating a little better,” he said. “I have a driving range in my backyard and I’m working on short wedge shots to get my short game ready for UCLA.”
UCLA took second in the 2019 Pac-12 Conference Championship and competed in the NCAA Regionals for a second straight year. The Bruins were ranked 21st in the nation heading into their final tournament of 2020.
Griggs said he is pursuing a business degree at UCLA as well as a career in golf.
“My goal is to go pro,” he said. “That has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.”