Miller Ties for Third, `Birds Finish Fourth at Samford
March 13, 2007
LIMESTONE, Ala. - Senior Matt Miller led the way for the Illinois State men's golf team, shooting an even-par 72 in the final round to pace the Redbirds to a fourth place finish at the Samford Intercollegiate Tuesday in Limestone, Ala. Miller ended the tournament tied for third place, firing a three-round total of three-under-par 213 (70, 71, 72) and four shots away from capturing his third career tournament title.
Miller's three-round total propelled the Redbirds to their fourth top-five finish this season, as the team shot a three-round total of 883 (296, 292, 295), which was also the lowest 54-hole tally for the `Birds in 2006-07.
Head coach Ray Kralis was satisfied with the efforts exuberated from the Redbirds on the final day, citing Miller's performance as the catalyst behind the team's move up the standings at the Limestone Springs Golf Club.
"Today's performance was very gratifying," said Kralis. "We had a good, strong team effort today, even with the pins in some tougher locations and the wind picking up. It was great for us to move up and finish fourth and we are also showing signs of moving in the right direction. It was also another strong performance for Matt, he stayed patient and handled his emotions very well. I couldn't be more proud of the team, being such a young squad, for having the right mind frame and handling their emotions at this point in the season."
Freshman Drew Miller fired a two-over-par 74 in Tuesday's final-round, moving up 11 spots on the leader board to finish tied for 21st with a total of 224 (76, 74, 74). Sophomore Ben Murphy also improved 12 places on the final day by matching Drew Miller's score of 74 in the third round, tying for 29th place with teammate Tommy Bliefnick with a total of 227. Sophomore Joe Emerich ended the tournament in a tie for 35th, firing a three-round total of 228 (73, 76, 79).
Austin Peay State won the tournament, backed behind a balanced attack, which saw three Governors finish in the top ten. The Governors finished with a total of 867 (293, 287, 287), with Yoshio Yamamoto finishing in second place individually with a total of 211 (68, 73, 70). New Orleans (868) finished one shot back in second, while Eastern Kentucky placed third with a team total of 880. Troy rounded out the top five in the standings, ending the competition with a total of 886 and three shots behind the `Birds.
In-state rival and Missouri Valley Conference member Southern Illinois finished in 13th place with a total of 941.
The Redbirds will continue their spring break trip when they travel to play at Grand National, on the world-renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. The team will have the opportunity to practice at one of the state's finest facilities, which has been the home to the 2000 NCAA Men's Division I Golf Championship, 1998 LPGA Tournament of Champions, and 1997 Nike Tour Championship.
The `Birds will be back in competition on March 26-27, when they challenge for the title at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational in Stevinson Ranch, Calif.