NW's Miller rebounds with 77
Northwestern Lehigh's Cole Miller walks towards the green during Tuesday's final round of the PIAA Golf Championships at York's Heritage Hills Golf Course. Miller, who shot a first round score of 83, rebounded with a better effort in the second rount for a 77. His two-day total of 160 was good enough to tie him for 38th place. NANCY SCHOLZ /SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Cole Miller possesses a lot of skills and traits that make him a great golfer. One of them is a short memory.
The Northwestern sophomore and District 11 champ forgot about the first-round 83 he shot Monday at the PIAA Championship Tournament by rebounding with a 77 on Tuesday. He tied for 38th place with a 36-hole total of 160.
The key to Tuesday's round was letting go of Monday's bad memories.
"I looked at it as a new day, new round, new score," Miller said. "I played OK. I drove the ball pretty well. His some better irons than yesterday and putted decent on pretty tough greens."
He hoped to shoot even par, his usual goal in big tournaments. But the greens at York's Heritage Hills Golf Course and the position of the holes were some of the most difficult he has ever played.
"These are some of the toughest," he said. "They're very undulating. With the pin positions that they put them on - some of them are right on top of ridges. If you putt it two feet past you'll be left with like 30 feet."
He was shooting 3-over par until a triple-bogey 7 on the last hole pushed him to 77 on the par-71 course. Miller made three birdies in the round, but two of the three were followed by bogeys on the next hole.
Tuesday marks the end of a sophomore season in which Miller won several titles. In the high school season he earned the Colonial League crown as well as the district title. Outside of scholastic play, he also captured the Blue Ridge Club Championship, the Wasser Cup and a Calloway-sponsored junior tournament that earned him a trip to play in Calloway Junior Worlds at Torrey Pines.
He would have liked to play better at states and maybe even contend for a medal, but he knows having been there this year will benefit him in future seasons.
"When you get back you know what the pressure is, you know the course a little more," he said. "There's a little less unexpected."
Northwestern head coach Justin Smith was pleased to coach his first state-qualifier. He knows this year's state tournament was a great learning experience.
"Experience is everything at this level because you need to know what to expect," said Smith. "Until you have the experience, you don't know what to expect."
Smith knew how good Miller could play after a stellar freshman season. When he saw him bringing in low-70s scores round after round early in the season, Smith knew this was going to be a great year for Miller.
"His consistency came together," Smith said. "There was no big variation in scoring. It was 75 or less every single match. When I saw that level of consistency I thought he could go pretty far."
Garrett Browning of West Allegheny won this year's PIAA boys golf title, shooting 4-over par 146 (71-75) to win by one stroke over two players that tied for second. The top four players were all from District 7.
Erica Herr of Council Rock North won the girls tournament with a score of 150 (74-76) to win by five strokes.
Shady Side Academy of District 7 won the boys team title, while District 3's Manheim Township won the girls team title.