Miller Closes in on Second Straight MGA Player of the Year Title
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (September 25, 2012) - From what began as a wide open, anyone-can-win-it MGA Player of the Year race back in May, a familiar face shifted his game into fifth gear and extended his lead over one of the most talented pools of Met Area amateurs in recent memory.
In the past week, reigning MGA Player of the Year Mike Miller of Knollwood took a major leap toward his second consecutive title, winning both the individual portion of the USGA Men's State Team Championship at Galloway National Golf Club and the Boff Invitational at Essex County Country Club. He has now racked up a total of 1,330 Polo Golf MGA Player of the Year points and increased his lead to 320 points over Met Amateur champion Ryan McCormick of Suburban. While Miller's point total will not be made official until the season is complete, it stands to be the highest since Jerry Courville Jr. accumulated 1,367 points in 1997. He would also be the first repeat POY since Courville in 2002 and 2003.
McCormick, who himself had one of the most remarkable summers in recent memory — winning the NJSGA Amateur, Met Amateur, NYC Amateur, and finishing T2 at the Met Open — doesn't have any more MGA POY-sanctioned events on the horizon and will focus solely on his St. John's University fall golf schedule.
In fact, only two official MGA POY point events remain on the 2012 calendar: the MGA Mid-Amateur Championship (Oct. 2-3) at the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y., and the USGA Senior Amateur (Sept. 29-Oct. 4) at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J. Those on the MGA POY Honor Roll bubble that will look to crack the top 10 at Meadow Brook include Al Small (currently at No. 11), Niall Handley (No. 12), and Ed Gibstein (No. 15). Players finishing on the MGA POY Honor Roll (top 10 on the points list) are awarded exemptions into several championships for the 2013 season, such as the Ike Championship, the MGA/MetLife Public Links, and the Met Amateur.
Below is a timeline of pivotal POY Moments:
- NJSGA Mid-Amateur (May 1-2) - Brian Komline beats Mike Stamberger in the final match and is awarded the first 100 points (125) of the MGA POY season.
- NYC Amateur (May 26-27) - McCormick defeats Miller in a sudden-death playoff with an eagle to claim his first 100 points.
- WGA Amateur (June 5-7) - Miller defeats Cameron Young 5 & 4 in the final match and wins 125 points, moving him atop the Polo Golf MGA POY Standings.
- NJSGA Amateur (June 5-7) - On the same day Miller was winning, so was McCormick. He plays flawless golf at Baltusrol and wins by five shots, earning 160 points.
- LIGA Open (June 5-7) - Joe Saladino makes his move, finishing 3rd in the Open and moving into second place in the MGA POY standings.
- Ike Championship (June 26-27) - After finishing T2 with Max Buckley, Saladino jumps into the POY lead, earning 150 points. Miller earns 100 for 4th.
- Mittelmark Invitational (June 28) - Cameron Young outduels Saladino to win his 3rd invitational of the season, jumping into 2nd place in the standings.
- Met Amateur (August 2-5) - McCormick beats Miller in the semifinals 1 up, then Matt Mattare in the finals to win the 110th Met Am and 275 points. Moves to 3rd in POY.
- U.S. Amateur (August 13-19) - Miller collects 175 total points for his U.S. Amateur performance, as well as 75 bonus points for his runner-up finish at the Sunnehanna Invitational (a top national amateur event), to take over the top spot.
- Met Open (August 21-23) - The true turning point in the POY race. McCormick nearly wins the Open, but takes T2 and a whopping 313 points (the most in any individual event in 2012) to take the lead...for a moment. But when Miller's points are totaled, he takes back the lead by 110 points (Miller finished T10 and was the 3rd low amateur, earning 175 points), with only a few remaning events.
- USGA Men's State Team (Sept. 19-21) - Team New York wins for the first time and Miller dominates the individual portion, winning by eight shots. He receives 125 points to build on his lead.
- Boff Invitational (Sept. 24) - Miller keeps his foot on the gas and takes the Boff title and a commanding lead of the MGA POY race. McCormick finishes T5 and remains second with 1,010.