Lowell Miller, an assistant professional in his second season at Rockaway River Country Club in Denville, collected seven birdies on his way a to 4-under-par 68, earning him medalist honors in the qualifying round for the 98th NJSGA Open Championship on June 27. This qualifier – the last of four throughout New Jersey – was at the 6,770-yard Glenwood Country Club in Old Bridge.
Amateur Brendan Davis of Forsgate Country Club was runner-up with a 70, and amateurs Reid Bedell of Manasquan River Golf Club and Gregg Angelillo of Baltusrol Golf Club tied for third at 1-under-par 71.
The low 22 players who shot 76 or better advanced to the NJSGA Open Championship, presented by the Lincoln Motor Company, to be held on July 24-26 at Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
Miller, 38, is a native of Edison, N.J., and has been a professional based primarily in Florida. He spent seven years as a playing pro at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Fla. Previous to that, he spent eight years on the mini-tour circuit.
From 2014 to 2016, he left the golf industry and sold real estate in the Orlando area.
He returned to New Jersey in 2017, joining head professional Greg Baker at Rockaway River. He had been recommended to Baker by Len Siter, head professional at Mountain Ridge Country Club. “I was fortunate. Len’s daughter knows my sister through gymnastics. I really enjoy being at Rockaway River, where I’m able to work on obtaining a PGA Class A membership,” Miller said.
Miller has been participating in New Jersey PGA Assistant Professional events and currently sits in second place on the assistants’ points list.
Miller had never seen Glenwood until playing it in the Open qualifier. “The funny thing was, I played the four par fives here in one over, so I had seven birdies on the other 14 holes. Glenwood is one of those placement courses where my best friend was my three iron. Not knowing the course kept me more focused on what I was doing,” Miller stated.
“I tried to hit it to the middle of the fairway and shape it when I had to. I became a little more aggressive when I saw I had the ball going where I wanted it to go.”
Miller, who employs a long putter, obviously also solved the greens at Glenwood. “The shortest birdie I made was 10 feet,” Miller said.
Davis, 23, is a graduate of Seton Hall University. He was a member of the baseball team at Somerville High School and became serious about golf when he started working as a teacher at junior golf camps at Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic Station.
He qualified for last year’s NJSGA Open at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson and made the cut on the number. “I’ll be a little more relaxed at the State Open this year,” he noted.
“I started out today with birdies on my first three holes (numbers 10, 11 and 12) and coasted from there, although I doubled my ninth hole, No. 18. Then, I had two birdies and a bogey coming in,” said Davis, who on June 12 qualified for the NJSGA Amateur at Watchung Valley Golf Club in Watchung.
The Glenwood qualifier event completes the 2018 qualifying process for the Open. A total of 360 players participated at qualifiers at Laurel Creek CC, Mendham Golf and Tennis Club, and White Beeches Country Club, adding a total of 72 players to the field at venerable but tough Montclair next month.