By Mike Dougherty
FARMINGDALE – Mike Miller has spent the better part of a year traveling across the country or flying across the ocean. There were a few memorable days on the golf course but no real breakthroughs, and it wore on the 22-year-old who turned professional with high expectations.
It’s always too long in between wins.
So excuse Miller for galloping down fairways and bounding onto greens Thursday during the final round of the Lenox Advisors New York State Open. The Brewster resident was caught up in the moment. He ran away from the field, closing with a sparkling 65 on the famed Black Course at Bethpage State Park to win by four with an 8-under total of 205.
“This is beyond anything I could’ve expected,” said Miller, who came in two shots off the lead. “Great players have won this championship if you go down the list and I’m glad to be on there with them. It’s only going to help me going forward.”
Adam Fuchs, a Bethpage resident who’s a full-time employee of a lumber company, finished second at 4-under. Rob Labritz, the director of golf at GlenArbor, was third at 3-under.
Dylan Newman was the low amateur. The New Rochelle native closed with a 66 and got to 1-under.
When it was over, Miller stepped into an embrace from his father, Knollwood head professional Bob Miller Jr., who took a day off to caddie.
“That’s really cool, really special to me,” said Miller, who’s played events on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Web.com Tour and the eGolf Tour since turning pro last September. “It’s my first official win and to have my father on the bag today, it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.”
A dream start eased the jitters.
Miller opened with a pair of birdies before missing twice from inside of six feet at No. 3 and No. 4. There was no visible tension. A birdie at No. 6 was followed by an eagle at No. 7. Competitors were left shaking their heads.
“You know what? I was calm today,” Miller said. “Normally, I’d be fired up trying to take it as low as I could on the back nine, but I know how hard this place is.”
Miller carded a birdie on the 13th hole when a shot destined for the woods hit a cart. His lone bogey came at the 14th when his tee shot bounced off the back of the par-3 green and settled into the rough. A kick-in birdie on the 18th punctuated the round.
“Coming down here in the car, a song came on the radio and Michael was asleep so I don’t even know what the name of it is, but it referred to your time being today,” the elder Miller said. “It was Michael’s time and I’m very glad to have been there. He’s been traveling around, playing golf, and every once in a while you wonder what’s going to happen. He hasn’t lifted a trophy in a while and this is a wonderful trophy to lift. Hopefully, it will continue from here.”
Lenox Advisors New York State Open
At Bethpage State Park, Black Course – Par 71
1. Michael Miller, Knollwood 69-71-65—205
2. Adam Fuchs, Bethpage State Park 71-67-71—209
3. Rob Labritz, GlenArbor 69-71-70—210
4. Rob Corcoran, Poxabogue 71-72-68—211
4. Chris DeForest, Rondout 68-73-70—211
6. Dylan Newman (a), Bonnie Briar 75-71-66—212
6. Jimmy Hazen, St. George’s 70-73-69—212
8. Abbie Valentine, Piping Rock 74-68-71—213
8. Michael Furci, Island Hills 71-71-71—213
10. Bryan Bigley, Pinehaven 73-67-74—214
11. Matt Dobyns, Fresh Meadow 72-72-71—215
12. Anthony Casalino, Innis Arden 70-74-72—216
12. Charlie Meola, Saxon Woods 74-69-73—216
12. Ben Polland, Deepdale 71-71-74—216
15. Chris Scialo, Paramount 76-70-71—217
15. Jamie Sindelar, Soaring Eagles 70-73-74—217
15. Frank Bensel, Century 71-71-75—217