Meridian Star

June 29, 2013

Catching Fire

Miller rides late birdies to victory at Briarwood

Tony Tsoukalas
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Up two shots with four holes left in the Emerald Coast Tour's Meridian Pro-Am at Briarwood Country Club,  Daphne, Ala. native David Miller could have  probably coasted away with a championship shooting par on holes 15-18.

    He didn't want to chance it. 

    Instead, Miller turned on the jets, earning birdies on 15, 17 and 18 to shoot a 7-under on the day for a combined 202 for the tournament. The finish earned Miller first place, as he beat out Pensacola, Fla., native Will Dottley (206) by four strokes.

    “You can't play to not lose, you have to play to win,” Miller said. “That's what I did with my shots. I just tried to make fairways and greens and make good puts. Once (Dottley) bogeyed 14, I knew I really had a chance.”

    “I was just playing solid,” Miller said. “I've been playing solid all week. On 13, I hit a kinda bad shot, then I figured it out and fixed it coming in. The last couple of shots were pretty good numbers for the clubs that I had.”

    Dottley, who came into the day leading by a stroke, was not able to finish as Miller started to heat up, bogeying his last three holes to end the tournament.

    “Overall, I got it in the hole pretty well all week,” Dottley said. “I didn't really hit the ball, especially with my wedges all week. I got off to a really good start today, four under through seven, and I had control of the tournament. But, then David (Miller) started making birdies pretty much every other hole, and I just didn't hit the ball that well for the last 10 holes.”

    Miller, a former All-American at the University of Georgia, underwent surgery on Monday to remove skin cancer in his back. However, he said the procedure went smoothly and did not have much of an affect on his game.

    “It was a little uncomfortable early on in the week,” Miller said. “Once I got going though, it didn't really bother me at all.”

    Dottley praised Miller, saying it was fun to compete with such a talented player.

    “He's a great player,” Dottley said of Miller. “He played better than I did all week, so he deserved to win.”

    Rounding out the top 10 were Robert Ammon (209); Michael Brice (211); Chase Blaich (213);

Billy Brozovich (214); Kyle Sapp (216); Jordan Anderton (220); Rob McGraw (222) and Kenny Perry (225).

    “I played here last year, and it's a good tournament,” Dottley said of Briarwood. “The golf course is in as good of shape as they can get it, and it played fine today. The weather was good –– it was just a good tournament.”