Miller looks to climb pro ranks Northwestern High School graduate having success on Canadian PGA Tour
Cole Miller follows through after hitting a tee shot during the DC Bank Open at Uplands Golf Club on June 8. Miller, a Northwestern High School graduate, has enjoyed a successful start to his professional career. SUBMITTED PHOTO
VICTORIA, CANADA - JUNE 10: General action during the PGA MACKENZIE TOUR Bayview Place, DC Bank Open presented by the Times Colonist at Uplands Golf Club on June 10, 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/PGA TOUR)
Throughout his years in school, Cole Miller used to have to worry about balancing his time between academics and the game of golf.
Whether it was at Northwestern Lehigh High School, or while he was playing college golf and earning a marketing degree at Penn State University, Miller had to manage his free time between getting his schoolwork done and growing as a golfer.
Now, Miller finds himself with a much lighter load and much more free time to focus on the game that has become his livelihood. His sole focus is making it to the PGA Tour.
“That part has been amazing so far,” said Miller in a recent phone interview. “It’s kind of been everything I thought it would be. Being able to focus on golf allows me to get better a whole lot quicker. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out some equipment and stuff and piece together the smaller aspects along the way.
“It’s really starting to come together I think for me.”
Things are falling into place for Miller as he competes on the Canadian PGA Tour, named the Mackenzie Tour.
But the New Tripoli native isn’t satisfied, and is committed to moving up through the ranks.
There are three branch tours under the Web.com tour that are PGA-affiliated. There’s PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latin American and PGA Tour China.
A top 25 finish on any of those tours gets a golfer an exemption into qualifying school for the Web.com tour. From there, golfers are just one step away from making it to the highest level of professional golf.
Miller’s goal is “to get on the Web.com tour as quickly as he can, get experience there, and do well out there,” he said. “The top 25 guys on the Web get a PGA Tour card every year. The faster you can get out there and get that experience under your belt, and just keep playing good golf, the faster you can work yourself onto the PGA Tour.”
Currently, Miller is 23rd on the money list for the Canadian PGA Tour, having earned $24,600 since joining that circuit in June.
He took one week off from the tour when he qualified for this year’s US Open.
“I got to see a ton of good golfers first-hand and how they play, and how they manage a tough course,” Miller said. “I kind of used a little bit of what I saw out there from certain players, and I use that to prepare each day on the Mackenzie Tour. So far, it has worked for the most part.”
In his first event after the US Open — the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open — Miller shot an eight-under-par and tied for 61st place.
After the Fourth of July, Miller competed in the Windsor Championship in Windsor, Ontario where he finished -17 and tied for 13th. There Miller carded his lowest single-round score (64) since turning pro.
In his very next tournament, Miller came close to the top of the standings as he tied for fourth at -19 at the Stall Foundation Open in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Miller was within a few shots of the lead most of his final round. He shot rounds of 66-69-67-67 and ended up finishing three strokes back of the eventual winner (Ben Griffin -22).
This was his first event where he shot four rounds in the 60s. He earned $8,800 (Canadian dollars) for that finish.
“That was certainly some of the best golf I played so far this summer,” Miller said. “To see that my game is good enough to compete and potentially win out here (on the Mackenzie Tour), it just says a lot early in your career like this when I’m trying to make some growth moves and changes and just make sure I’m advancing in the right direction.”
Miller shot a -15 in the Osprey Valley Open in Caledon, Ontario (July 19-22). He finished tied for 10th place.
Then, he played in the Syncrude Oil Country Championship in Edmonton in early August. There Miller carded a score of -11 and tied for 12th place.
His play teetered a bit in the ATB Financial Classic where he didn’t make the cut (thanks to a +2 score). In his last tournament at the Players Cup, Miller tied for 58th with a -4 score.
Right now is a perfect time for Miller to take advantage of some time off to spend some quality time with family and relax a bit away from his current career.
Miller is glad that he has a three-week break because he will have the honor of attending his sister Kayla’s wedding on Sept. 8.
And, when he’s not spending time with his family before the wedding, it’s guaranteed that Miller will be at a local course or practice facility working on his game.
He’ll be preparing for another one of the biggest events in his young career.
“The [Mackenzie] Tour Championship is huge here in the next couple of weeks,” Miller said. “So, I’m really going to take some time while I’m home to shore things up with my equipment because I need to get some of that stuff sorted out. And then once I get that sorted out, I feel like I have a good chance to compete in the Tour Championship because at this point you kind of know who your competitors are, you know what you’re capable of, and I know if my game is on I can beat any of the guys out here.
“So, that’s the plan. I have three weeks to do it. I just have to go and try to win it.”