Garaway’s Miller swings his way to Ohio’s top boys golf honor

Image

Sugarcreek Garaway senior Kevin Miller won an individual and team state title in D-III. (Photo by Ben Barnes)

Two-time state golf champion as an individual. Runner-up as an individual his freshman year. Two-time state champion as part of the Garaway Pirates. Kent State University signee. Junior golf tour standout in the offseason. Girls’ basketball film guy?

Such is the accomplishments and personality of Garaway senior Kevin Miller


SUGARCREEK – Two-time state golf champion as an individual.

Runner-up as an individual his freshman year.

Two-time state champion as part of the Garaway Pirates.

Kent State University signee.

Junior golf tour standout in the offseason.

Girls’ basketball film guy?

Such is the accomplishments and personality of Garaway senior Kevin Miller, one of the best golfers the state of Ohio has ever seen who just so happens to enjoy his duties as the film guy for the highly-successful Garaway girls’ basketball team nearly as much as the gold he’s won on the links.

“I like doing that behind-the-scenes kind of thing,” said Miller. “The girls are the ones people come to see on the court and I can keep to myself while helping them out.”

“That’s the thing with Kevin – how many kids who have been as accomplished in Ohio golf history would carry around a little camcorder and film girls’ basketball,” said Garaway golf coach Ryan Taggart, who happens to be girls varsity assistant basketball coach as well. “Most kids who are in Kevin’s shoes would want to be noticed but Kevin wants to be in the background at games.”

Miller won his second-straight Division III state championship as an individual this past Fall, firing a 2-day total of 141 to beat runner-up and future Kent State teammate Nathan Tarter of Mogadore by three strokes.

Oh yeah, and his team also won its second-straight title with a 631, besting runner-up Lima Catholic’s 639. He also led his team to its second-straight team title and the third for the Pirates in the last five years as they also took the title when Miller was in the eighth grade in 2004.

For his accomplishments, Miller has been named the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Boys Golfer of the Year.

Not that the even-keeled Miller would acknowledge himself when told of the honor.

“It still kind of catches me off guard when I sit back and think about what I did and how I accomplished it,” said Miller. “But I’d put the team higher than the individual thing because of the experience of sharing it with the team. Sure, you can enjoy the individual medal by yourself but having my teammates celebrate our team title was so amazing, especially to do it two years in a row.”

Winning two individual state championships put Miller in select company as only 11 people have done it, including Jack Nicklaus and Ben Curtis. His scholarship to Kent State will actually be the Ben and Candy Curtis Golf Scholarship and he will be just the second freshman to receive it.

“I think that the opportunities there (at Kent) with the tremendous practice facility, the coaches, the tradition and the academics will give me the opportunity to improve my game and have a solid academic base,” said Miller.

Miller’s 9-hole average for his career was 36.4 with an 18-hole average of 72.7. He averaged 31 putts per 18 holes while saving par 52 percent of the time. He hit 61 percent of his fairways and 70 percent of greens in regulation.

This season alone, Miller had an 18-hole low of 66 with an average of 70.4 while hitting an amazing 75.3 of the fairways he played. In winning his second title in as many years, he hit an even-par 72 on the first day at The Players Club at Foxfire in Lockbourne and a 3-under par 69 on the second day.

“I play my own game and I don’t worry about what other players are doing,” said Miller. “If I might make a good shot or if I don’t hit the ball really well, I try to treat every shot the same. A lot of our fans and my teammates would probably prefer me to show more emotion but it’s just the way I am.”

Taggart said Miller can act any way he wants because of his appreciation for those who have worked hard for him.

“He’s never had anything handed to him,” said Taggart. “He’s not a country club golfer. His parents have worked hard to give him the opportunities he’s had and he appreciates how hard his parents (Roy and Viola) have worked for him. Golf isn’t a sport where you can just pick up a ball and go play for free somewhere.

“He knows people have made sacrifices to provide him opportunities and it has allowed him to have a humble perspective that has certainly assisted him in his success.”

Miller has also had success at the junior level and admits to a goal of someday playing professionally, although he wants to enjoy college first.

He won the Junior PGA qualifier at Hawthorne Valley Country Club, allowing him to compete at the Junior PGA Championship in Cincinnati this past summer where he tied for 22nd in the nation. He also qualified for the Optimist in Florida with some of the top junior international golfers in the world.

“That definitely gave me a lot of confidence to see that I could compete with some of the best players and it showed me I could play at that next level,” said Miller.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *