In a battle of Penn State teammates, it was Cole Miller who roared the loudest as he claimed a three-shot victory over J.D. Dornes in the 103rd Pennsylvania Amateur Championship presented by Allegheny Health Network Wednesday at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Fleetwood.
Miller, whose sophomore season saw the Nittany Lions earn a berth in the NCAA regional at Blackwolf Run, trailed Dornes, the senior leader on that team, by three heading into Wednesday’s final round.
But Miller, a former Northwestern Lehigh standout, came out firing, making birdies on six of the first 12 holes on his way to a 3-under 67 for a 54-hole total of 10-under 200 over the 6,801-yard, par-70 Moselem Springs layout. His 200 total matched the tournament record since the event went to its current 54-hole format in 2002.
Not that Dornes, a former Manheim Township standout, ever went away. He still only trailed Miller by two shots with two holes to play when he found the fescue at the par-4 17th and ended up with a triple bogey seven. He signed for a 3-over 73 to finish second at 7-under 207.
“I would say this is my biggest win to date,” Miller, who turns 21 Thursday, told the Pennsylvania Golf Association website. “It’s great to get out here because this is just a great tournament.
“You obviously have all the best guys in Pennsylvania here. To compete with them and pull off the win, that’s all you can ask for.”
Miller, playing out of Blue Ridge Country Club, started the day at 7-under after rounds of 65 and 68 and quickly surged to 13-under with birdies at two, five, seven, eight, 11 and 12. He finally cooled off with bogeys at 13 and 14 that allowed Dornes to creep within a shot. But Miller restored his two-shot lead with a birdie at the 16th and Dornes’ triple bogey at 17 allowed Miller the luxury of a double bogey at 17.
Dornes, playing out of Lancaster Country Club, had opened the tournament with a bang, a brilliant 8-under 62 that matched Miller’s course record that he had established less than a week earlier. He added a 68 in the second round before finishing up with a 73.
Christopher Crawford, the recent Drexel graduate who teed it up in the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club earlier this summer, carded an even-par 70 to maintain his hold on third place. Crawford, playing out of Spring Mill Country Club, finished at 5-under 205, two shots back of Dornes, but four shots clear of the rest of the field.
Zachary Ford of Wanango Country Club and Scott McLaughlin of LuLu Country Club finished in a tie for fourth at 1-under 209. Ford matched Miller’s 3-under 67 for the day’s best score while McLaughlin had his second straight 1-over 71 after opening with a 67.
Radnor Valley Country Club’s Carey Bina, a former Radnor High standout, capped a really strong showing with a 3-over 73 that enabled him to share sixth place with PAGA individual member Jarred Texter at even-par 210. Texter finished with an even-par 70.
P.J. Acierno, a La Salle senior and former La Salle High standout, capped a solid week with an even-par 70 that left him in a tie for 11th at 2-over 212. Acierno plays out of LuLu Country Club.
Wake Forest sophomore Kyle Sterbinsky and Brandon Matthews, who completed one of the best careers in program history at Temple this spring, finished tied for 17th at 4-over 214. Sterbinsky, a Peddie School product who earned a trip to the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in a qualifier last week, matched par with a final-round 70 while Matthews, a two-time Philadelphia Open champion, signed for a final-round 71.
Michael Davis, a junior at Princeton who plays out of Aronimink Golf Club, had a final-round 74 to finish in a tie for 20th at 217. It was another two shots back to Nathan Smith, a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and three-time member of the U.S. Walker Cup team who finished in a tie for 29th at 219. Smith, who plays out of Pinecrest Country Club, posted a final-round 73.
After a fast start with an opening-round 67, Georgetown junior Cole Berman, who plays out of Philadelphia Cricket Club, fell back with rounds of 76 and 77 to finish in a tie for 34th at 220.
Temple sophomore Sam Soeth, the former Marple Newtown standout who plays out of White Manor Country Club, also carded a 77 to finish in a tie for 38th at 221. R.J. Wren, who will play at Delaware after an outstanding scholastic career at Twin Valley, finished in a tie for 46th at 224. Wren, who plays out of Applecross Country Club, also finished up with a 77.