Sturgis sophomore golfer Jessica Griffioen, who tore up the Division 3 regional tournament en route to a career-best 88 (seven strokes better than her previous 18-hole low), will have to wait until next fall to tee it up with the state’s best for the first time. After tying for third at regionals and qualifying for the MHSAA state finals, Griffioen was a Thursday night scratch due to a back injury.
The first round began Friday morning and continues through Saturday.
“Last week at regionals she had a couple holes to play and told me her back was kind of bothering her,” Trojans coach Ken Schau told JoeInsider.com Friday afternoon. “Nobody expected her to qualify. Her family went to Hilton Head for a week and they weren’t even going to come back until [Saturday]. They changed all their plans.”
Griffioen joined her family in South Carolina for an abbreviated visit and planned to get in a few rounds in preparation for this weekend’s finals at Grand Valley State University’s The Meadows course.
“When they got down there, her back got worse and worse,” Schau expalined. “Her dad told me she was in bed for a couple days it was so bad. I didn’t get word until [Thursday] and called the state and said she wasn’t going to start. She’s just crushed; I feel so bad for her.
“They were excited. They were going to go down to Hilton Head and play golf all week. It kept deteriorating and getting worse. They didn’t want to call me and tell me what was going on until the last minute because they felt so bad.”
Prior to regionals, Schau said, Griffioen had never complained of back pain.
“Not at all,” he said. “It was about five holes to play at regionals. I was just thinking, ‘Okay, maybe she tweaked it a little bit.’ We just had to keep it stretched and finish the round out. We didn’t think anything of it. But it just kept bothering her. It’s kind of strange. Coming from her, a really tough girl, that’s why I really feel bad for her. She’s worked her butt off for this.”
At this point, Schau explained, Griffioen is still trying to figure out exactly what the injury is and will likely get a medical evaluation soon.