BEHTLEHEM – After one of the best regular seasons by any local high school golfer in recent years, Cole Miller headed to the Colonial League Championship Tournament with a scoring average seven strokes lower than anyone else in the event.
The Northwestern junior was the only member of the field to break 70 Wednesday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course. He carded a 3-under par 68 to win this year's title by five strokes over Bangor's Alex Colton.
"I played pretty solid in the beginning," Miller said. "I lost it a little bit at the end, but overall it was a pretty good day."
Joining Miller in the top 15 were teammate Nick Vecellio, who placed fifth with a 76, and Palmerton's Ke-Koa Mook, who shot 83 and placed 14th.
Miller started the day with three birdies. An eagle on his sixth hole put him 5-under par at that point. He finished the round with four birdies, an eagle and three bogeys.
"I kept the ball in play off the tee pretty well," Miller said. "I controlled my wedge distances well today."
Miller, the defending District 11 champ, now has two straight league titles. Wednesday he hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 31 putts in his round.
He's been on a roll all season long. His highest score this season is a 70 at Olde Homestead, Northwestern's home course. That came on a windy day. He shot a career low 63 there just two weeks earlier.
Miller's scoring average for the season is 66.13. The next-lowest was Notre Dame's Eamone Marone, who averaged 73.44.
Vecellio, also a Northwestern junior, averaged 75.63, which was the league's third-lowest. He didn't have his A game on Wednesday and was proud to have grinded to a score in the mid-70s.
"I did not play well," he said. "But I scrapped and got it done. My short game saved me."
Vecellio made 10 pars, two birdies, five bogeys and one double. He hit four fairways and got to just 10 greens in regulation, but he took only 32 putts to bring in his 76.
Vecellio, a two time District 11 Tournament qualifier, hopes to make the tournament again this year and advance to his first regional tournament.
"I just have to keep working hard," he said.
Despite the solid rounds brought in by Vecellio and Miller, the Tigers placed fourth in the four-team playoff for the league's team title. The Tigers only had one other player come in under 100 as Chad Kelson shot a 94.
Notre Dame (Green Pond) won this year's team title with a five-player score of 404. Southern Lehigh was second at 404, followed by Moravian Academy (435) and Northwetsern (436).
Colonial League Championship Golf Tournament Results
Top 10 plus local players
1. Cole Miller (Northwestern) 68, 2. Alex Colton (Bangor) 73, 3. Collin Hagenbuch (Wilson) 74, 4. Eamone Marone (Notre Dame GP) 75, 5. Nick Vecellio (Northwetsern) 76, 6. John Albenzi (Southern Lehigh) 77, 7. Bob Deutsch (Notre Dame GP), 8. Kyle Buchman (Notre Dame GP) 79, 9. Andrew Woolley (Notre Dame GP), 10. Nick Haddad (Southern Lehigh) 81, 14. Ke-Koa Mook (Palmerton) 83, 23. Ryan Saylor (Palmerton) 89, T35. Chad Kelson (Northwestern) 94, 38. Zach Caruso (Northwestern) 95, 47. Eric Abercrombie (Northwestern) 103, 50. Kyle Graff (Northwestern) 112, 51. Zach Goddard (Northwestern) 114, 52. Kevin Shuey (Northwestern) 117.