After transferring schools, then taking a brief break from the sport he loved, Myles Miller, red-shirt freshman at Newman University, is headed to the NCAA Division II Super-Regional tournament as the Heartland Conference Player of the Year and individual champion.
Miller, a 2011 graduate from Wellington High School, has taken a winding course to get to the Super-Regional in DuPont, Wash.
"I played at Wichita State last year, then transfered over here this year," Miller said. "Last Summer I kind of quit playing golf for awhile, once I started in the Fall semester I got back into it." This season playing for the Jets has been an impressive one for the former Crusader.
"Myles was hands down the best player in the conference," said Newman University Head Golf Coach, Kent Notestine. "In fact, when they had the ballot...he was the only one on the ballot, you could vote for him or nobody." Miller won three of the seven tournaments he competed in, including the Heartland Conference Championship last week.
The championship was played in Dallas, Texas. Miller shot a 76 in his final round to win with a one-over-par score of 211. As a team, the Jets placed second. The coach was impressed with his team and Miller as they were rusty from not getting a lot of practice time due to weather conditions this season.
"We had 18 days in a row where we couldn't get on the golf course," Notestine said.
While Miller has been tearing up golf courses this year, he has kept in touch with the coaching staff at WHS.
"Myles texted me shortly after he finished his final round in the Heartland Conference Championship to let me know he won," said James Ginter, WHS Head Golf Coach. "I can't tell you how proud I was of Myles." Miller was one of the most successful golfers in Crusader history, he placed at state each of his four years, winning the individual 4A State Championship his sophomore and junior years. He also won multiple Ark-Valley Chisholm Trail League Div. IV and Regional championships while wearing red.
"He has worked very hard to develop himself into the talented golfer he is today. I was happy to see him find success at the new home, Newman University," Ginter said. "I know it was very hard for him to leave WSU, but he has found a perfect fit with Newman and they are getting a very talented golfer and a nice young man." His new coach has taken note of some skills that help set Miller apart from the field.
"Myles can control his trajectory on the ball when it's windy, and he's a great putter," Notestine said. "The thing that he does better than about any player I've ever had is he's just a great pitcher and chipper of the ball." Miller said his greatest strength is his instincts on the links.
Page 2 of 2 - "There's so many people who swing it better than I do, who putt it better than I do, I just somehow have the ability to know what shot to hit and when," Miller said. "It saves me a whole lot of shots that way." Miller said he was thrilled to receive the player of the year honor, and that his main priority right now is his school work. In hind-sight, the young golfer said it was a smart idea to take a step back from the game.
"It was probably what was best for me," he said. "I'd gotten so tired of playing golf...I think getting a break is good for me." Re-energized, and ready for regional action, which will conclude on May 8, Miller feels like he matches up will a the tournament in Washington.
"I feel like I have the ability to do well at this regional," Miller said. "Eventually I want to be a medalist in the National championships one day," he added, looking down the road. His coach is also ready for the tournament, to see how his player will do.
"Sometimes he gets a little too aggressive, and that might bite him," Notestine said. "But that's how you shoot really low scores sometimes is being aggressive." If this season is any indication, the future looks bright for Miller and the rest of the Jets golf team.
"I've really enjoy this year," Miller said.