Minnesota Golf Association

Miller Collects Second Win of Season, Beats Constable and Matthew to Claim MN Golf Champions

September 30, 2018

By Nick Hunter
  GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Ross Miller began his season with a victory at the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am at Southview Country Club in June, shooting 11-under par 202 before outdueling Robert Bell in a four-hole playoff.
He continued his strong play at the Minnesota State Open in July, carding a 6-under par 210 to finish second, two shots behind Andrew McCain for his best finish at the event.
On Sunday, Miller bookended his 2018 season with a round of 4-under par 69 to earn a wire-to-wire victory at the 2018 Minnesota Golf Champions tournament, posting a 7-under par 212 at Golden Valley Country Club to earn a two-stroke victory over Donald Constable and Sam Matthew.
“When you look at the names—Don Berry, Clayton Rask, Constable, Ryan Helminen—there are so many great players that I’ve always admired. It’s feels cool to view myself in that category of guys,” Miller said after his win Sunday. “I’ve always had an underdog, chip-on-your-shoulder thing. I was a late bloomer and it’s been a progression for me to get where this season has gone.
“I’m looking forward to building on that and it’s a really nice way to end the year, my last tournament of the year. I’m excited.”
Miller contacted the five-time champion Rask for words of encouragement on how to get in the proper place mentally ahead of Sunday’s final round.
“I spoke with Clayton, who’s won a few of these, last night and we talked about in the past when I’ve been in contention, you get caught up with what other players are doing. My goal for the day was to not worry about O’Brien might do or what Constable is capable of doing. I think that’s what really helped me out.”
Miller began the championship with a round of 3-under par 70 Friday and followed it with a round of 73 during the second round Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Constable and Joe O’Brien to Sunday’s final round.
Getting started quickly Sunday, Miller sank his birdie chance from four feet before he would drop back to even for the day with a bogey at the par-3 eighth. Miller answered quickly by sticking his approach to kick-in distance inside of three feet at the ninth before heading to in the back nine, where he’s flourished all week, playing it in 5-under.
“Something about the back—I like it. All the tee shots set up well for me and I’m really comfortable on the back even though on paper it’s a lot harder. I made a couple of nice putts, but I feel pretty comfortable with it for whatever reason.”
Short of the 10th green in two, Miller chipped inside of three feet and converted birdie to move to 5-under for the championship and would roll in his birdie chance from six feet at the par-5 13th, after leaving his eagle putt well short.
Unable to save par after missing the par-3 14th left, Miller dropped a shot with bogey, but charged back with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th, moving two strokes ahead of the field at 7-under. Miller’s approach at the 15th landed behind the flagstick and nearly spun back into the cup, stopping inches away.
Hitting his second at the 16th, Miller’s ball came to rest 15 feet above the hole, where he would sink a dangerous, downhill putt.
With a pair of pars over the final two holes, Miller earned his second win of the season by shooting 4-under 69 Sunday, to claim the two-stroke victory.
“I tried to hit it in smart spots and take my time with my club choices. Yesterday I had a couple where got going a little fast,” Miller said. “The big thing was being smart and staying patient and letting them come instead of trying to force it.  
“I’ve been driving the ball great all summer. That’s the big thing for me—if I’m hitting it decently long and in the fairway, I feel like the rest of my game is capable of posting a score. I spent a lot of time the last couple days before the tournament putting four or five footers. With how these greens are, you’re going to have a lot of them. I made most of them and I felt like that was huge to have confidence over those.”
The 26-year-old Miller graduated from Osseo High School in 2011 and played collegiate golf at Minnesota State University, Mankato where captained the team his senior season, winning five times.
Turning professional in 2016, Miller now has three top-10 finishes at the Minnesota Golf Champions.
Constable, who won the 2014 championship when it was last contested at Golden Valley, fired a final-round 70 Sunday to finish tied for second with Matthew at 214.

“Today was a little rough—I didn’t hit it very good and didn’t play the par-5’s particularly well all week,” Constable said. “If you don’t play them well out here you’re going to get beat. I played well coming in the last five or six holes, I hung in there.
“I drove the ball well for the most part. My iron play is where I kind of lacked a little bit. I drove it well, which is nice to have for what I’m going into. It’s another chance to compete before I head south and start doing my work.”
The former University of Minnesota golfer will travel to Arizona Monday to prepare for the first stage of Web.com Tour qualifying.
Constable played in eight events on the Dakotas Tour in 2016 and 2017, winning twice and collecting more than $66,000 in earnings. He’s made five appearances on the Web.com Tour this season, with his best finish coming at the Pinnacle Bank Championship at The Club at Indian Creek in Omaha, Neb., placing tied for 22nd.
With a final-round 4-under par 69 Sunday, Caleb VanArragon earned low amateur honors with his fourth-place finish at 4-under 215. VanArragon, a senior at Blaine High School who is committed to Valparaiso University, notched a top-25 finish at the Class AAA championship in June before he claimed the Minnesota State Junior Boys’ Championship in July.
7,004 YARDS, PAR 73
1. Ross Miller (p), Sundance GC, 70-73-69—212
T2. Donald Constable (p), Spring Hill GC, 75-69-70—214
T2. Sam Matthew (p), North Oaks GC, 73-72-69—214
4. Caleb VanArragon, Bunker Hills GC, 73-73-69—215
5. Jeff Sorenson (p), The Minikahda Club, 72-73-71—216
T6. Lisa Grimes (p), Alexandria GC, 76-69-72—217
T6. Joe O’Brien, Rush Creek GC, 74-70-73—217
T8. Eddie Wynne (p), University GC, 75-74-70—219
T8. Brent Snyder (p), Troy Burne GC, 74-74-71—219
T8. Jesse Bull, Golden Valley CC, 77-69-73—219
For complete tournament results go to:  https://mnpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpga18/event/mnpga187/contest/1/leaderboard.htm

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