The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

April 20, 2014

MSU's Miller gaining confidence to play well

Junior has a 74.6 stroke average per 18 holes

It was the second round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament last fall, in poor weather and on a tough course.

Ross Miller wasn’t making good contact, and it all could have added up to a big number.

“But I made a lot of putts,” Miller said. “That was probably the best tournament I’ve had (at Minnesota State).”

Miller, a junior from Osseo, wraps up the regular season this week at the two-day Gustavus Adolphus golf tournament. He’s in position to qualify for the Division II region tournament, and a couple of good scores would help.

“You always want to play well,” he said. “It could help my stroke average.”

Miller is the 10th-ranked player in this region, though he’s second among players not on teams that will likely qualify for that tournament. Four players not on team that qualify will be invited to play in the region tourney. His stroke average is 74.6 per 18 holes, and he’s been no worse that 13th in six tournaments this fall and spring, with a second-place finish in the conference tournament.

“I really think he should get in,” Minnesota State coach Geoff Klein said. “I would expect him to show up and not be overwhelmed and play well.”

Miller said he made a breakthrough last summer, placing in the top 30 at the state amateur championship and sixth at the state publinks. He’s a solid ball-striker, and he’s working hard on his short game, hoping to pick up a couple of strokes around the green.

“I have not made many putts this spring,” Miller said. “The focus the last two weeks has been to hit it closer to the hole and make more putts.”

Klein said that Miller has always played with maturity, and the improvements in the wedges and putter have allowed Miller to continue a nice progression from freshman to junior. His goal statement at the beginning of the season was to be in position to win tournaments.

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