GRAFTON—While other athletes are waiting on the fate of their fall and winter sports seasons, one Grafton Bearcat was able to take advantage of this summer’s beautiful weather and develop his game even further to be prepared for his potential fall season.
Chris Miller, a standout player on the Grafton High golf team who will be entering his senior season next month, was able to take part in the 2020 Callaway Junior Tour the past two months, which took place at various courses throughout the Mountain State.
Beginning in 1984 under a different sponsorship, the Tour has expanded state-wide where in 2012 it welcomed a record 377 junior players. The numbers remain well over 300 players every summer and this year was the 37th season for the Tour, which continues to promote and provide an affordable tournament experience for junior golfers.
Miller states that when he first entered his name as a participant, he decided to work towards three specific - but attainable - goals.
“My goals going into were to get a first-place finish, get a boys’ “low round of the day,” and win Player of the Year,” Miller said recently. “As the season went along, I was able to capture all three of those goals.”
When all was said and done, the rising star was able to win three championship trophies in his age group, score the boys’ low round of the day at Berry Hills (Charleston) with an even round of 70, and win Player of the Year accolades for the 17-18 boys’ age group.
In addition, near the end of his Callaway Junior Tour experience, Miller also played at Pipestem Resort (Mercer County) in a WV Amateur Tournament qualifier and shot a 74 (+2) for the day to secure his spot at the Greenbrier Resort for the end of July.
“In addition to the Callaway Junior Tour, I also had two other goals,” added Miller, as he turned his focus to the tournament at the Greenbrier. “One of them was to qualify for the West Virginia Amateur, and the other one was to make the cut if I did happen to qualify. My dad caddied for me at the qualifier at the WV Amateur, and I shot a 74 which was good enough for a fourth-place tie and a spot at the WV Amateur. Sadly, after a great first day with my uncle on the bag at the Amateur, I fell just short of the cut line.”
Miller, who has only been playing golf for less than four years, still has a huge upside. Other than the instruction he gets from his coaches on the GHS golf team, he is self-taught and has taken no professional lessons, which is remarkable considering that most golfers who excel at the sport has had private lessons at some point in their lives.
It should also be noted that one individual who attempted to qualify for the WV Amateur finally did so this year after attempting for 20 years, so for Miller to make it on his first attempt as a 17-year old is quite the accomplishment.
“My summer has been full of great experiences with so many people,” added Miller. “I had a wonderful time playing golf all over the state and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the love and support I had along the way.”
If this summer was any indication, fans will want to head to Tygart Golf Public Course this fall to see this rising star lead the Grafton Bearcats’ golf team to the postseason in 2020, and maybe even further.