Matthew Griffin finished the Australian PGA at Royal Pines on Queensland’s Gold Coast in a share of 40th but was left with more than enough reason to celebrate after winning the PGA Tour of Australasia order of merit, his reward a place in the Open Championship next year at Royal Birkdale in England and two World Golf Championship events.
“It is what you play golf for – to play in the Open Championship and the WGCs,” Griffin said.
“It will be my first major. I have grown up as a kid dreaming of playing in a major. That is what I have played golf my whole life for – to get to a major and see how you go up against the best players in the world.
“If I play well, I get Fed Ex Cup points and it opens a new world.”
The 33-year-old Griffin started the Australian PGA with a big buffer at the top of the order of merit thanks to his win at the New Zealand Open earlier this year – he also recorded a share of third at the Victorian PGA and a top 10 at the Fiji International – but was forced to endure an anxious afternoon as Andrew Dodt and Ashley Hall vied for the Joe Kirkwood Cup.
Either could have passed Griffin with a win. But it wasn’t to be. Ultimately, Hall finished third on the order of merit and Dodt fourth – second place was filled by New Zealander Michael Hendry. In hindsight, Griffin could have missed the cut at the PGA and retained his place at the top.
Not that he was to know that as he had one eye on the course and one on the leaderboard during the final round – he finished at one under after a final round 75.
“It’s been a long week and a lot of calculations going in but it is nice to finally get there,” Griffin said.
Griffin, who plays the majority of his year on the Japanese Tour, will play the WGC Mexico Championship in March, the Open Championship in July and the HSBC Championship late next year.
A good result at any or all of those events will create opportunities around the globe. The Open championship in particular is the realisation of a dream for a bloke who has won multiple times in Korea and Australasia but never qualified for a major.
He is confident he can make his mark, having experienced links golf in the past and found it to his liking.
“I played a little bit of amateur golf there and always played quite well,” Griffin said.
“I played the Dunhill (Links Championship) a few years so I think I will try to get over a bit early and get some experience on it. But I like that type of golf, So I think it should suit me.”