Cole Miller wins record fourth consecutive Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship title
June 23, 2016
LEHIGH TWP. — Cole Miller of Lynn Township demonstrated with a record-setting performance Saturday that he continues to be the best amateur golfer in the Lehigh Valley region.
Now, with an ambitious summer tournament schedule ahead of him, the Penn State rising junior has even bigger goals.
Miller shot a final-round 3-under-par 32-37–69 Saturday at Woodstone Country Club to win a record fourth consecutive Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship title.
Miller, 20, registered a tournament record 36-hole score of 10-under-par 65-69–134 to win the 26th edition of the tournament by 14 strokes over Moravian College rising junior Tyler Smith of Moore Township.
The 14-stroke victory margin and opening round 7-under-par 65 by Miller are also tournament records.
Smith, 20, shot 4-over-par 72-76–148. The former Northampton golfer, who was fourth in the event past year, was the 2012 Lehigh Valley Amateur runner-up.
Former Freedom golfer Steve Kluemper of Bethlehem (2011) finished third at 76-73–149.
Miller said the demanding Woodstone layout reminds him of some of the golf courses he plays in collegiate events.
“I certainly like this course,” said Miller, who averaged just under 73 strokes per round at Penn State this past season. “It has two different styles. The front nine is target golf off the tee, which we play a lot in college. The back nine is target golf to the greens.”
After Smith sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the first hole to cut Miller’s lead to five strokes (3-putt bogey), Miller took a commanding 13-stroke lead with a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine. He birdied holes 4, 5, and 6; and eagled the par-5 ninth hole after hitting a drive and eight-iron approach shot nine feet from the cup.
Miller attributed his front nine success to long and accurate drives off the tee. He hit all seven fairways, and launched three drives of at least 320 yards on the third, sixth (drove the green), and seventh holes.
“Off the tee today, I was a lot better than yesterday,” said Miller, who hit 15 greens in regulation and had 32 putts. “It took a lot of pressure off my game, and I was in good position.”
A Northwestern Lehigh High School graduate, Miller has dominated regional amateur golf over the past five years. In that time span, Miller earned three consecutive Lehigh Valley Player of the Year awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014; finished third in the 2014 Lehigh Valley Open, qualified for the 2015 U.S, Amateur, and has won a regional-best 11 individual amateur tournament titles.
With a U.S. Amateur qualifier (July 18), and the Pennsylvania Amateur Championship in late July at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Berks County, Miller is looking for a big summer.
“I’m extremely pumped up for the state amateur at Moselem,” said Miller, who holds the course record at Moselem Springs with a 8-under-par 62. “It’s a course I like. My game right now feels confident. It’s 30 minutes from where I live. I know everyone at the club.”
Other big tournaments this summer on Miller’s schedule include The Palmetto Amateur event in late July and the Canadian Amateur in early August.
The victory at Woodstone, coupled with Miller’s win at the 2016 Lehigh Valley Inter-Club Championship in late May, gives Miller a commanding lead in the 2016 Lehigh Valley Player of the Year race. Miller has 81 points, while Smith is second at 26 points.
26th annual Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship
Woodstone Country Club (par 72)
Final 36-hole scores:
1. Cole Miller 65-69-134 (10-under-par);
2. Tyler Smith 72-76-148;
3. Steve Kluemper 76-73-149;
4-T. Chad Hess 80-73-153, Jim Maru 79-74-153;
6-T. Jason Wilson 78-76-154, Luke Smith 77-77-154, Nicholas Lukow 76-78-154;
9. Kyle Henofer 78-77-155;
10. Evan Notaro 79-77-156;
11. Justin Tresslar 78-79-157;
12. David Olexson Sr 77-81-158.
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