Rosapenna’s Ryan Griffin will tee it up in the R&A Amateur Championship brimming with confidence and a belief that he can hold his own at the top table of amateur golf.
Griffin impressed for the International team at the Palmer Cup earlier this month winning a point on the opening day where he rubbed shoulders with world number one Gordon Sargent which instilled an inner belief that he can compete against the top amateurs in the world.
The Donegal man will be making his second appearance at the Amateur Championship at Hillside and Southport & Ainsdale on Monday. It’s been quite a journey for the 22-year-old who was playing off a handicap of five four years ago before making the cut in Lytham last year. Starstruck twelve months ago, Griffin arrives this time around with a sense of belonging.
“In the Amateur last year in Lytham I was playing with two of the best European players, both inside the top-100 in the world and I was nearly starstruck playing with that calibre of player because it was the first time I was doing it,” he explains.
“In the first round I was level and the best of our group and level again in the second round and made the cut, happy days and the guys were nine and ten over so that told me that I am more than good enough to be here with these kind of lads if I keep grinding and keep going and see what you can do in the matchplay.
“Got beaten by a Danish guy in the match play but it was confidence building if you look at it in the right perspective.”
The Maynooth University student sits outside the top-1000 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking but he knows if he can get through the 36-hole qualifier anything can happen in the last-64 of the matchplay and he will take inspiration from Quentin Carew’s sensational Irish Close win last summer.
“Anything can happen if you can get through the 36-hole qualifying, look at Quentin Carew in the Irish Close last year, he was last in 64th and won the thing which is the beauty of matchplay.
“Matchplay suits the Irish because we are so used to playing matchplay in our own championships so we know the format and that anything can happen.”
The Griff is one of 22 Irish in the field this week and he tees off at 09.39 with Giovanni Binaghi (Italy) and Matthew Gauntlett (England) on the Southport&Ainsdale course.
“Since I came home from the Palmer Cup I’ve been non stop golfing in Rosapenna because the golf is just completely different to what we played in Laurel Valley. A few of the Americans from the Palmer Cup are coming over to play the Amateur and they don’t really know what to expect.
“Heading over to the Amateur this year it’s the golf I’ve grown up playing I know how to flight the ball, hit the shots and hit the greens so hopefully I can play well.”