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But for now, the Kent Roosevelt senior can't

By Tom HardestyRecord-Courier staff writer Published: October 26, 1999 12:00 AM

But for now, the Kent Roosevelt senior can't help but think of what might have been this past Friday and Saturday at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course.

Miller, who carries a 3.41 grade-point average, ended up third individually, just one stroke back of champion Bobby Castor of Ashland High School. Miller carded a 76-79_155 to Castor's 77-77_154, and his third-place showing earned him first-team All-Ohio honors, which go to the top five placers at the state tournament.

"I told him there were a lot of good players that didn't even get down there," said Roosevelt coach Garry Black. "We're really pleased with him to have done that well."

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However, Miller's mind keeps drifting back to the 17th hole of Saturday's cold, blustery final round. He had parred the 13th hole, birdied the par-5 14th hole, then parred both 15 and 16 to take a two-stroke lead going to the 17th.

But when he got there, he discovered three other groups waiting to tee off. After a delay of about 20 minutes Miller's group finally was able to go, but the wait had cooled off his hot hand. Miller ended up four-putting for a double bogey, then bogeyed the 18th to finish one stroke away from a state championship.

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Did the delay on 17 cost him the title?

"It's probably just an excuse," he said. "It probably did affect me, but not that much. I was golfing pretty good up until then.

"Really, we were playing fairly quick the whole time. I don't know what happened (to cause the delay at 17)."

Miller ended up on the fringe at the 17th green and tried to putt his way to the cup. Instead, he came up 20 feet short. His next putt took him eight feet past the hole, and his third putt missed as well.

"I probably should have chipped it from the fringe," he said. "I try to putt whenever I can, so I putted it and I probably shouldn't have."

Miller had been tied for second after the first day, just one stroke off the lead.

"I thought I might be a little further down on the list than that," he said. "I was in a pretty good position."

With the weather having turned nasty on Saturday, Miller shot a 40 on the front nine, then bogeyed the 12th. But that's when he began his string of three pars and a birdie to take the lead.

"The weather was really ugly and the scores were high," said Black, "so those really were pretty good scores. The weather was some of the worst that I'd seen. That's unfortunately what you can get into at this time of year."

Miller ended up with a season average of 73.6, the best ever at Roosevelt. And his third-place individual finish at state is believed to be the highest ever for a Rough Rider golfer.

"We knew he was going to be really good when he first came up as a

freshman," said Black. "He kept getting better and better every year,

and he went from being a pretty good player to a real good player. You

don't get players like Justin very often."

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