HCC golfer headed to national tournament

May 16, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

Williamsport's Michael Griffee will spend next week in Phoenix, not on a family vacation but on a personal golf excursion.

Griffee, a graduate of Williamsport High and a freshman at Hagerstown Community College, was among the qualifiers in individual competition at the National Junior College Athletic Association Golf Tournament that will run for four days beginning Tuesday.

Along with HCC athletic director Brian Beck, Griffee rolls into Phoenix for practice rounds Monday and Tuesday to get a feel for the Palm Valley Golf Club, a 7,015-yard, par-72 layout.

"It looks like a tough course with lots of water," Griffee said after seeing the Palm Valley course layout on the Internet.


Griffee shot an 82 in individual competition at The Wisp in McHenry, Md., to qualify for the NJCAA excursion as he continues to build on a successful high school run that twice took him to the state tournament, including a top-40 finish as a senior.

He said his father encouraged him to play when he was young and he has thrived under the instruction of people like Dave Grier at Yingling's Golf Center, Rod Steiner at Williamsport, Jim Grumbaugh and HCC golf coach Dirk Schultz.

Like many young golfers, Griffee has hopes of reaching the professional ranks.

"I've got the aspirations to get a golf scholarship and then work on a long-range goal of being a pro," Griffee said.

He's afforded the opportunity to play extensively at Black Rock, where Schultz is the course pro.

"He's steady and consistent ... doesn't have much to say," Schultz said. "He puts his nose to the grindstone, and this experience will help him get better."

Schultz, who took over this season as HCC coach, said he was aware of Griffee's potential coming into the season.

"He has the ability to pursue his dreams and take it to a higher level," Schultz said. "This year, he has been the steadiest golfer every week."

Griffee lists a 76 at Cumberland Country Club as one of his best rounds.

As for the NJCAA stint, Griffee has expectations of shooting in the mid-70s.

"I'm working on playing smarter," Griffee said. "It's course management. If you're in trouble, don't try to hit a miracle shot."

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