Miller outlasts former teammate, wins Amateur title
Cole Miller took home the hardware with a 10-under-par total.
FLEETWOOD, Pa. - Cole Miller of Blue Ridge Country Club outlasted his former Penn State teammate, J.D. Dornes of Lancaster Country Club, to win the 103rd Amateur Championship presented by Allegheny Health Network at Moselem Springs Golf Club (par 70, 6,801 yards). Miller, a rising junior for the Nittany Lions, fired a 3-under-par 67 in Wednesday's final round en route to a 54-hole total of 10-under-par 200 and the Amateur crown.
"I would say this is my biggest win to date," said Miller, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Thursday. "It's great to get out here because this is just a great tournament. You obviously have all the best guys in Pennsylvania here. To compete with them and pull off the win, that's all you can ask for."
Facing a three-shot deficit heading into the final round, Miller birdied six of his final 12 holes to better Dornes and the rest of the playing field. Once his first birdie of the day dropped from 17 feet on No. 2 (par 4, 404 yards), things "began to flow" for the champion. He continued to build on a hot start with birdies on Nos. 5 (par 3, 181 yards), 7 (par 5, 556 yards) and 8 (par 4, 474 yards). Dornes, however, would not back down. The good friends headed to the closing nine tied at 11-under.
When he needed it most, Miller played his clutch card, putting pressure on Dornes with birdie after birdie.
"I made a good one on No. 11 (par 4, 443 yards) that gave me a one-shot lead. Another [birdie] on No. 12 (par 5, 506 yards) gave me a nice two-shot cushion," said Miller, of New Tripoli, Pa. "That certainly helped me calm down a little bit because adrenaline was really rushing through me."
A jarred 16-foot birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 408 yards) clinched the title for Miller. His rounds of 65-68-67 matched the Amateur's scoring record since becoming a three-day, 54-hole event in 2002.
J.D. Dornes' first-round 62 was a course record in competition.
After posting an 8-under 62 on Monday -- a competitive course record that matched a mark that was originally set by Miller himself -- Dornes posted a 2-under 68 on Tuesday. He entered the final round with a healthy three-stroke advantage over Miller. It wouldn't be enough in the end. A four-over final nine, highlighted by a fescue-filled triple bogey on No. 17 (par 4, 406 yards), eventually spelled Dornes' downfall.
"I honestly played really well today. There were some tough pins out there today, and I unfortunately missed some putts," said Dornes, who graduated from Penn State in May. "The guy you're going against makes them sometimes. That's just how it goes."
It was once again a strong showing for the 22-year-old, who placed tied for fifth in last year's Amateur event at the Country Club of Scranton. His immediate future plans include an appearance in the upcoming Canadian Men's Amateur Championship. Dornes will then make the call to go pro.
"Overall, it was nice to come out here and play well," said Dornes, of Lancaster, Pa. "It was great to go toe-to-toe with [Cole]. It's definitely cool to see Penn State kind of representing the state."
Crawford continued his spectaular summer play this week.
Playing alongside Dornes and Miller in today's final group was Spring Mill Country Club's Christopher Crawford, who finished at 5-under for the tournament, good for third place overall. Crawford, who appeared in this year's U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club and finished as runner-up in the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Open Championship last week, fired rounds of 66-69-70 to continue his spectacular summer season.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Moselem Springs Golf Club for their kind hospitality in hosting the event, and to Allegheny Health Network for its loyal sponsorship of the Association.