Lanto Griffin continues to make name for himself at Zozo Championship

Lanto Griffin hits from the second tee during the third round of the Zozo Championship golf tournament Oct. 24, 2020.
Lanto Griffin shot a four-under 68 in the third round of the Zozo Championship and is two strokes behind leader Justin Thomas.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Unless you follow the PGA Tour closely, you probably don’t know Lanto Griffin.

He has won once on tour — the Houston Open a year ago — and is ranked 59th in the world. His parents were hippies and named him after the spiritual master Lord Lanto.

“It’s been an interesting name my whole life,” Griffin said. “I go by Larry a lot at Panera Bread. Anytime anybody asks for a name for an order, it’s always Larry just to avoid that 30-, 60-second conversation of where your name’s from, but it’s a good conversation starter.”


At the Zozo Championship on Saturday, Griffin continued to make a name for himself. He opened the third round with four consecutive birdies and, despite some rough patches, held on to shoot a four-under-par 68.

Matthew Wolff grew up in nearby Agoura Hills and has friends who live next to the Sherwood Country Club. He expects friends to watch from nearby yards at the tournament without fans.

Oct. 21, 2020

As a result, he’s alone in third place, two strokes behind leader Justin Thomas and one back of Jon Rahm. That’s some rarefied air, as Rahm is ranked second in the world and Thomas third.

“This is what I dreamed about, position I dreamed about being in my whole life,” said Griffin, 32. “From being on mini tours, the Korn Ferry Tour, now to be here playing with the best players in the world in the final group, it’s a lot of fun.”

Despite his namesake, Griffin was careful not to overthink his strong start.

“I try not to get too deep into that in my own head,” he said. “I’m fairly pessimistic in my own mind. I try and downplay everything. It’s just the best way for me to stay focused. I could be nine under through nine, and I don’t think I’d act much different than if I was even. It’s just the way my mind works for me to keep playing well.”


Thomas, hunting his 14th victory on tour, has been remarkably steady. He shot a 67 on Saturday after consecutive 65s.

“I’m really, really close to kind of hitting everything, every iron, wedge like I want,” Thomas said. “There’s just a couple shots I’m still not quite comfortable with, but I’m getting closer.”

Tiger Woods won last year’s ZOZO Championship in Japan, and his familiarity with Sherwood Country Club puts him a good position to win again.

Oct. 20, 2020

Not only did Rahm shoot a bogey-free 63, but for the first time in his career, he hit every fairway — 13 of 13.

Rahm was most pleased with his putting. He had 22 putts Saturday, five fewer than Thursday and six fewer than Friday.

“They started going in. That’s it,” he said. “The last five-and-a-half rounds, my putter was absolutely cold. Didn’t make anything at all.”

In a three-way tie for fourth are Sebastian Munoz, Ryan Palmer and Patrick Cantlay.

Defending champion Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are tied for 68th at three under and, with Adam Long, form a legendary grouping that, but for the pandemic, would draw a massive crowd.

“I think obviously I’m not even close to even getting in the top 10,” said Woods, who followed his 66 on Friday with a 71. “But if I can just play well shot for shot and build on what I had [Friday] … I’ll have a lot of positives.”