FLEETWOOD- Cole Miller wanted to make sure his round to earn a trip back to the PIAA Golf Championships next week would be as easy as he could make it.
That's why he spent Sunday and Monday playing practice rounds at Golden Oaks Golf Course in Fleetweed prior to yesterday's PIAA East Region Golf Championships held there.
Last year's PIAA silver medalist fired a round of 68 that turned out to be medalist honors for Class 2A at four-under par for what will be his third straight trip to the State Championship.
"It was nice to get two practice rounds in and get familiar with these greens especially," he said.
"It was very much a nice day out there," Miller said. "I felt very much in control of my swing and was just comfortable."
Tamaqua's Mike Weinert, the other TIMES NEWS Area golfer in the field, shot an 82, and missed a chance to make it to states when he bogeyed the first playoff hole (No. 10) that he had to play with Moravian Academy's Andrew Wolak, Holy Redeemer's Chase Makowski and Danville's Gavin Geiger. Wolak wound up with a par, while Makowski and Geiger also bogeyed giving Wolak the right to move on next week.
Last year, Weinert fired a round of 83 to miss the cut by two strokes.
Miller started on Hole No.8 and finally put a string of birdies together to go 3-under par.
"I think three birdies in a row kind of summed up my round," Miller added. "Once I got it going, I knew I could keep it going, so that was nice.
"The immediate goal is to score low enough to move on, but if you're really feeling it our here, it;s nice to pick up some confidence going in to states. For me to put up the low round, gave me the confidence knowing that my game is going in the right direction."
On a windy, blustery day, Miller shot a round of 77 last year, which actually tied him for fourth. This year's round was a lot steadier on what was a calm, mild day with hardly a breeze.
Then he went on to lead after day one of the State Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York, only to come up a bit short settling for second place.
"The expectations are definitely high for me going out there this year to play well," Miller added. "But I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. If you think your way around the golf course, you can post positive scores. And I think I did that today. I was able to control my distances a little better than most days and that's what resulted in so many greens being hit."
Miller had the longest drive in his foursome on almost every hole and had a 31-putt day, hit 17 of 18 greens and 12 of 14 fairways.
"It's not the long drive so much that I worry about, its keeping it in play," he said. "and getting it to wedge distance. Just hitting those fairways just solidifies the proper swing thoughts for me."
Miller also just recently won the Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions for the second year in a row and the Lehigh Valley Player of the Year again.
And if he stays focused as he did during the Regional Tournament this past Tuesday, he'll be in the hunt for the gold medal again at states.
PIAA EAST REGION GOLF TOURNAMENT
At Golden Oaks (Par 72)
3A BOYS (Top 24 advance): 1. Kevin Connors (Bishop Shanahan) 67; 2. Ryan Dornes (Manheim Township) 69; 3. (tie) Jalen Griffin (Wissahickon), Connor Sheehan (Solanco), C.J. Tyler (Shikellamy) 71; 6. (tie) Vinay Ramesh (Pennsbury), Brandon Vance (Methacton), Kyle Vance (Methacton) 72; 10. (tie) Grant Schumaker (Emmaus), Nick Johnson (Scranton Prep), Anthony Sebastianelli (Abington Heights), C.J. Zachary (Hershey) 73; 14. (tie) Steve Cerbara (Holy Ghost Prep), Nick Beckish (Abington Heights), John Foley (Spring-Ford), Axel Hartman (West York), Liam McAnally (Downingtown West), Brandon Raihl (Conrad Weiser), Josh Rinehart (West York), Sam Soeth (Marple Newtown), Andrew Willner (Conestoga) 74; 23. (tie) J.D. Hughes (Carlisle), Kevin Kunkle (Northampton) 75*. Other District 11 golfers: Brett Howey (Nazareth) 75 lost playoff, Chad Hess (Parkland) 77, Nick Maff (Bethlehem Catholic) 78, Kevin Zakszeski (Liberty) 81.
2A BOYS (Top 16 advance): 1. Cole Miller (Northwestern) 68; 2. (tie) Nick Gilman (York Catholic), Mariano Medico (Holy Redeemer) 70; 4. (tie) Noah Firestone (Mount Calvary Christian) 72; 5. (tie) Brock Kovach (Wyomissing), Isaiah Logue (Fairfield), Roland Massimino (New Hope-Solebury), Austin Renz (Danville) 73; 9. John Barone (Dunmore), Nate Menon (Wyomissing) 75; 11. Dom Mancinelli (Holy Cross) 78; 12. Mark Farley (Calvary Christian) 79; 13. Mitch Burns (Oley Valley), 80; 14. (tie) Ryan Krechel (Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg), Erik Ridley (Central Catholic) 81; 16. Tim Wolak (Moravian Academy) 82*. Other District 11 golfers: Michael Weinert (Tamaqua) 82 lost playoff, Colin Hagenbuch (Wilson) 84.
3A GIRLS (Top 12 advance): 1. Erika Herr (Council Rock North) 71; 2. Jackie Rogowicz (Pennsbury) 73; 3. Samantha Staudt (Coatesville) 74; 4. (tie) Allison Cooper (Central Dauphin), Brynn Walker (Radnor) 75; 6. Isabella Dilisio (Mount St. Joseph) 77; 7. Madeline Herr (Council Rock North) 78; 8. Maddie Sager (Owen J. Roberts) 79; 9. Raven Fatool (Shikellamy) 80; 10. Haley Goodling (Manheim Central) 81; 11. Helen Hsu (Freedom) 82; 12. Julia Santo (Wallenpaupack) 84. Other District 11 golfers: Samantha Fritzinger (Emmaus) 88, Kelsey Patterson (Emmaus) 91.
2A GIRLS (Top 8 advance): 1. Shannon Weber (Kutztown) 76; 2. Cara Basso (Villa Maria) 78; 3. Dana Droz (Veritas Academy) 81; 4. Franca Hurtado (Central Catholic) 84; 5. Hannah Yanoski (Valley View) 85; 6. Krista Kissell (Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg); 7. (tie) Katie Behnert (Milton), Lauren Parrini (York Catholic) 88. Other district 11 golfers: Kiran Singh (Bethlehem Catholic
* Advanced in playoff.