It is the dream of every young female golfer to play on the LPGA tour at some point in their life. A professional career could easily become a reality for junior golfer Tina Miller.
Miller, a Miami native, came into the season fresh off a tie for 26th at the NCAA Regionals last season. In her first tournament this year, Miller posted a three round total of two-under par to win the Cougar Classic, her third collegiate victory, and helped propel UM to a third place finish. This solid finish made Miller the No. 4 golfer in the nation at the time. She is currently ranked No. 14 overall.
“It was an honor to see that I was ranked in the top five, and even though I’m No. 14 now, my goal at the beginning of the year was to finish in the top twenty,” Miller said.
Her success has translated into success for the entire team. The Hurricanes debuted at No. 7 in the national rankings last week and are currently ranked No. 19 overall.
“Tina is a great leader of this team,” Head Coach Lela Cannon said. “She is the captain and everyone has a great deal of respect for her.”
It can be argued that golf is the hardest game to learn. The difference between the great golfers and the good ones lie in their ability to bounce back when they are struggling. Tina Miller has mastered the art of always remaining positive.
“If I get into a funk and I’m not hitting the ball well, I just realize that I’m a good golfer, and I’ve played for 13 years, so I can get through it,” she said. “I just try to remain as optimistic as I can.”
A recent issue in golf has been whether or not women should be able to play on the men’s tour. Annika Sorenstam recently competed with the men in a PGA Tour Event. Tina Miller has had experience playing with male golfers at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School.
“Annika was given a sponsor’s exemption so that spot was given to her, and as long as any girl is not taking a spot from a guy on the Tour, I don’t think it’s a problem,” Miller said. “I played high school golf with guys, I’ve been through it, I’ve been ridiculed and asked ‘why aren’t you playing from the red tees?'”
Even though Miller has had success playing golf, she knows that she still has to improve before she can attempt to turn pro. Success on the professional tour is not easy, and she will need to continuously improve if she wants to win on the LPGA Tour.
“Ever since I started playing golf, when I was young, I have wanted to turn pro,” Miller said. “Coach Cannon has taught me mentally that I can go out there and turn pro, but I know I have a lot I need to improve on, and that’s why I am here, to practice and to work towards that.”
Miller definitely has a career in the sport of golf, but that’s not the only reason she is attending the University of Miami. She is a dedicated student and she wants to complete her college education.
“I’m excited that I am attending school because I really want to graduate with my degree,” Miller said.
It isn’t hard to figure out what makes Miller a great golfer. She is dedicated, hard working, and puts time in at practice. The team is poised to have its best season in a long time, and they have Miller to thank for it.
“She is devoted, dedicated, and motivated. She’s not only a great player, but she is a great ambassador for the game of golf,” Cannon said. “She always looks great and people love to watch her play.”
Darren Grossman can be reached at DRG215@aol.com