Lanto Griffin in contention in The American Express after freak injury involving his dog | Golf News and Tour Information

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LA QUINTA, Calif.—Man’s best friend? Absolutely a golfer’s best friend? Maybe not so much.

Lanto Griffin will shoot for his second PGA Tour title on Sunday at The American Express after scoring 3 under par 69 at La Quinta Country Club against leader Tom Hoge by two shots. He arrived this week grateful to be fit after a back injury forced him to withdraw from last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii.

Add Griffin’s injury to the list of abnormal occurrences for golfers, like Lucas Glover falling from a paddleboard and Rory Mcilroy injuring his ankle during a football game. Griffin said the week before Sony, his dog Troy, a Lab-Sharp Pei mix he adopted from a shelter during the pandemic, was limping a bit in the middle of the night. Griffin gently lifted Troy up the stairs.

“I felt a little pop,” he said. “And it’s just kind of a bulging disc hitting a nerve and inflammation. So do whatever I can.

“I was disappointed to miss Sony, I removed that one [and] I think I would come here; better be here in warm weather and be prepared for Torrey [and the Farmers Insurance Open next week]. Torrey is one of my favorite events of the year.

“I guess it’s a good decision to come here,” he added, “and hopefully it holds up tomorrow.”

Griffin, looking for his second career win to add to his victory at the Houston Open in 2019, shot a seven-birdie 65 on Friday at the PGA West Stadium Course and followed it with a 69 at La Quinta Country Club in windier conditions.

He said the back stiffened somewhat on Saturday, but he was hoping for the best in potentially calmer conditions on Sunday. Moreover, he had other sporting concerns in mind. “I’m going to go back tonight and watch my Niners hopefully beat the Packers,” said the 33-year-old born in Mt. Shasta, Northern California.

As for Troy, he is not in Lanto’s niche.

“I love him to death,” Griffin said. “He didn’t ask me to pick him up, so it was all on me.”

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