Date: May 14, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Hair’s breadth from Griffin glory

Matt Griffin knows the joy of victory and agony of defeat, but he may never have been this close to a “major” title.

Griffin, 34, was not in the final group of the Japan PGA Championship, but when he struck a long curling birdie try on the final green, he knew the ramifications were potentially huge.

As the ball began to lose speed and fall to the right, the Japanese commentary team became increasingly excited, thinking the 20m putt was good and the Aussie would have a shot at a playoff for one of the Japan Golf Tour’s key events.

But, remarkably and agonisingly for the Melburnian, gravity appeared to switch off momentarily and his ball stayed above ground.

“Still rapt with tied third though in one of Japan’s majors,” a stoic Griffin later tweeted after his 69  left him a stroke shy of a playoff eventually won by Japanese veteran Toru Taniguchi over countryman Yoshinori Fujimoto.

Capping another great week in Japan for the Aussie contingent, Canberra’s Brendan Jones matched Griffin’s closing round to finish alongside his Victorian mate at five under.

Aaron Townsend and Scott Strange were the other Aussies to make the cut and finished in a share of 40th at five over.