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Former VCU star Lanto Griffin (-12) won the Delta Dental Virginia State Open this weekend.

Former VCU star Lanto Griffin (-12) won the Delta Dental Virginia State Open this weekend.

We’ve officially reached summer’s angry phase in Richmond. The heat index is a billion right now, and my lawn melting. Local weathermen and women are warning people with beards – there are a healthy number of bearded folks in this town – against spending time outdoors, due to the high risk of spontaneous beard brush fires.

But it’s not all bad. As I hunkered down inside and reclined on a couch I fashioned from blocks of ice, I was able to follow the exploits of a handful of VCU alums who killed it this weekend.

First and foremost, Lanto Griffin, a former CAA Golfer of the Year for the Rams, ran away with the Virginia State Open Championship by six strokes this weekend. For his efforts Griffin (-12), who turned pro after graduating from VCU in 2010, pockets $6,300. Griffin opened the tournament with back-to-back rounds of 66 and 68 and took a 5-stroke advantage into Saturday’s final round. Griffin briefly saw his lead cut to three strokes Saturday, but recovered to win going away.

Meanwhile, former VCU Soccer standout Nate Shiffman enjoyed possibly the best moment of his young pro career Sunday when he scored the Richmond Kickers’ lone goal in the 84th minute against West Bromwich Albion from the English Premier League. Shiffman’s strike briefly tied the match, but West Brom answered in the 88th minute to secure a 2-1 win.


Treveon Graham. You’ve heard of him, right? The Rams’ great continues to plug away for the Spurs in NBA Summer League action in Las Vegas. Playing time in summer league games can be all over the map, and Graham’s burn is no exception, but he did pick up 20+plus minutes in back-to-back games this weekend. On Sunday, Graham pumped in 12 points and corralled five rebounds in a summer league semifinal victory over Atlanta.

Graham is still trying to find the range from NBA 3-point range (shooting 22 percent), but his other metrics this summer have been pretty good. He’s averaging 6.2 points and 2.8 boards and shooting 42 percent overall for the Spurs in nine contests. Graham and the Spurs will play in the Las Vegas Summer League Championship Game against Phoenix Monday at 9 p.m. on NBATV.

The latest edition of the Ram Report is online now! Check out a feature on VCU Basketball Coach Will Wade, not to mention stories on Olivia Sutton, the first lacrosse player in VCU history, and baseball’s connection to Puerto Rico. READ HERE.


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Former Ram Lanto Griffin has advanced to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open.

PINEHURST, N.C. – Lanto Griffin is one step closer to the U.S. Open.

The 2010 VCU graduate fired a 3-under 69 and placed third to earn one of eight qualifying spots among a field of 117 Monday during U.S. Open Local Qualifying on the Pinewild Country Club Magnolia Course. Griffin birdied his final hole to avoid a playoff and secure his sectional berth.

“The golf course yesterday was long and very demanding off the tee, so I knew the scores wouldn’t be great,” Griffin said Tuesday. “My goal was anything in the 60’s because I felt 70 would be a playoff and I ended up being right.”

Griffin, a Blacksburg, Va. native, will advance to the sectional qualifying round June 4 in either Columbus, Ohio or Rockville, Md. The number of U.S. Open bids available at each site is determined by the size and strength of the field. Griffin also reached the 36-hole sectional last year, but fell short after carding 71-75 in Rockville.

Now, the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year will get another shot.

“Chasing the U.S. Open is big because it’s our national open. The history speaks for itself and the opportunity to advance my career by competing on that stage is extraordinary.”

Since graduating from VCU with a degree in marketing, Griffin has been cutting his teeth on the EGolf Professional Tour. In 2011, he scored four top 10 finishes and netted more than $41,000 in earnings. He’s off to a good start in 2012 as well, placing second at the Forest Oaks Classic in April and fourth at the Irish Creek Classic in March.

In 2011, Griffin qualified for his first PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship, after shooting 65 in an 18-hole qualifier.


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2010 VCU grad Lanto Griffin has been playing golf professionally since November.

In his first professional golf tournament in November, Lanto Griffin earned a tidy sum of $938.33. That might not be enough to merit driving around with a giant check in the backseat, a la Happy Gilmore, but it was enough to make the 22-year-old VCU alumnus proud.

Just six months later on May 5, the 2009 CAA Golfer of the Year was making his first PGA start and taking aim at a share of a $6.5 million purse at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. All in all, it hasn’t been a bad start to life as a professional for the 2010 VCU graduate.

Griffin spent the winter and spring playing the Hooters and eGolf Tours, smaller, non-PGA affiliated professional tournaments, but fired a 65 during an 18-hole qualifier May 2 to earn one of four at-large spots into the Wells Fargo Championship. It was the realization of years of hard work for the Blacksburg, Va. native.

“They gave me a 2011 Mercedes courtesy car for the week. There were 40,000 fans there every day. It was pretty nuts. It’s one of those things where you always dream about playing in one,” Griffin said.


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