FARMINGTON HILLS – Drew Miller of East Lansing said his best golf of the summer was during the Michigan Junior State Amateur Stroke Play Championship on the Sundance course at A-Ga-Ming Resort.
“My game was really in good shape then,” he said. “I was 11-under and didn’t feel like I did anything special. I just had great control.”
Miller, a junior at East Lansing High School, had control of his game most of the summer, finished on top of the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Points List and has been named the GAM Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, Kyle Wolfe, director of junior golf GAM announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. In November Nick Krueger of Spring Lake was named the Men’s Player of the Year, Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the Women’s Player of the Year, Steve Maddalena of Jackson was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Julie Massa of Holt was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year and Randy Lewis of Alma was named Super Senior Player of the Year.
In the next few weeks the GAM will announce more junior Players of the Year in gender and age categories. The Players of the Year are presented by Carl’s Golfland.
“It feels awesome to be Player of the Year, it was a goal for sure,” Miller said. “I saw friends win it the last few years and it gave me the drive to represent Michigan. Being on the top is great.”
Miller, a member through Country Club of Lansing, qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur over the summer and had top finishes in AJGA tournaments as part of a busy schedule, topped the points list with 1,018 points.
The Junior Boys’ Player of the Year the last two years, PJ Maybank III of Cheboygan and Hidden River Golf & Casting Club, was second with 983 points.
Max VanderMolen of Richland and Gull Lake Country Club, the winner of the Michigan Junior State Amateur, finished third with 773 points.
Lorenzo Pinili of Rochester Hills and Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club with 726 points, and Vibhav Alokam of Ypsilanti and Youth on Course Michigan with 590 rounded out the top five.
Miller, a 17-year-old high school junior who has verbally committed to play collegiate golf at Michigan State University, said he felt great about the season but feels there is more work to be done.
“In the off-season I will challenge myself to play even better next year than I did this year,” he said. “I’m working on getting stronger, adding some (swing) speed, taking more (repetitions) and more swings. I want to improve.”
He was introduced to the game at an early age by his father Kevin, an accomplished player who played collegiate golf at the University of Toledo. He said he finally beat his father in a round a few years ago in Florida, but from different tees. He works with his father on his game as well as Victor Whipp, the coach at East Lansing High.
“I want to top this year, I want to win the Michigan Amateur next summer,” Miller said. “I like to set high goals and go after them.”
He said it wasn’t hard to commit to MSU’s golf program and end the recruiting process as a junior.
“I felt it was the best place for my game to develop,” he said. “I liked the coaches, the atmosphere and really loved everything about it.”
Wolfe said Miller has a complete golf game and is an exceptional putter.
“He made 14 birdies in the two rounds of stroke play at the Michigan Junior State Amateur and some clutch putts in match play,” he said. “He works hard on his game and given the type of competitor he is, I’m sure we will see more success from Drew in the future and at college at Michigan State.”