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Miller's First Sub-70 Round Puts Buffs In Second At Red Sky

Sep 26, 2022
Morgan Miller

WOLCOTT, Colo. — University of Colorado freshman Morgan Miller had been striking her woods and irons well all fall.
 
On Monday, her putter joined the party.
 
Miller shot Colorado's first round in the 60s on the young fall season, leading the Buffaloes into a tie for second place after the first round of the Golfweek Red Sky Classic at the Red Sky Golf Club Monday.
 
Miller shook off a slow start and recorded seven birdies in an 11-hole stretch to finish at 3-under-par, 69, and is in fourth place after 18 holes. Pepperdine's Lauren Gomez is the first-round leader with a 5-under, 67. Washington State's Darcy Habgood and Mercer's Tracy Rodriguez are tied for second at 4-under, 68.
 
"(Morgan) got her putter going," Colorado head coach Anne Kelly said. "We started making some putts. She's been striking the ball well, but just not taking advantage of birdie opportunities. She started to do so today."
 
The Buffaloes finished at 1-under, 287, on the day at the 6,367-yard, par 72 course, tying Fresno State and sits just two strokes off the lead. Pepperdine is the leader after the first round with a 3-under, 285. Xavier is in third, one stroke behind Colorado and Fresno State while Kennesaw State, Delaware and Mercer are tied for fifth at 289.
 
Overall Colorado had a bit of a roller coaster round. The Buffaloes started slow, but behind Miller, held the lead at the turn at 3-under. Colorado stumbled on the early holes of the back nine, playing No. 10-14 at 7-over collectively to fall back into the pack. But the Buffaloes rallied, playing the final four holes at 6-under to leap back into contention.
 
 "Everyone showed a lot of heart and fight today," Kelly said. "No. 10 is a difficult par 3, 11 is not easy and 12 had a very difficult hole location. But we can improve there. We talked a little bit after the round and hopefully we'll find a way to play those holes a little better."
 
Miller struggled early, finding herself at 3-over through the first five holes, but a birdie at the 359-yard par-4 No. 6 began her impressive run in the red. After a par at No. 7, she birdied the next three, including back-to-back par 3s at No. 9 and 10 to get back to 1-under.
 
"Yesterday's practice rounds I was really feeling the greens. I knew it was going to be a good putting course for me. It took a couple holes today to get started, but when I drained one on (par 4) six, it really just started rolling well. My speed was great all day and matched it up will with my line."
 
Miller's only hiccup on the back nine was a bogey at the 372-yard par 4 No. 14. She rebounded nicely with consecutive birdies at No. 15 and 16 for her first collegiate sub-70 round.
 
"Coach pulled me aside (prior to) No. 6 and just said 'we're starting over from here, doesn't matter that's in the past'," Miller said. "So I just had to think of the team instead of myself. That's what helped my mentality a lot was more to do it for the team."

Graduate transfer Haylin Harris made her Colorado debut in style with a 2-under, 70. Harris, who joined the Buffaloes from Michigan State, shot 3-under on the back nine with birdies at No. 12, 15 and 17 to get into a seven-way tie for fifth place.
 
Sophomore Natalie Vo is tied for 27th place after shooting a 1-over, 73. She had a fantastic start with birdies on three of her first five holes to get to 3-under. Vo had a tough stretch of three bogeys in four holes on the back but got a shot back with a birdie at No. 16 to tie her season-best round.
 
Sophomore Lauren Gooding is tied for 56th at 3-over with a 75 in the first round. Like Vo, Gooding started off well, sitting at 1-under after nine, but like the rest of the Buffs, tumbled on the first part of the back. Gooding fell to 5-over through 14, but rallied with back-to-back birdies at No. 15 and 16 to get to 3-over.
 
 "A lot of mental toughness out there today," Kelly said. "Lauren played a good solid front nine after kind of a rough start, and then she just got a lot of bad breaks. She was a bit unlucky, but to her credit, she never game up and played some really solid golf coming in."
 
Freshman Makenzie Cooper rounded out Colorado's first round, tied for 84th at 7-over, 79.
 
Colorado will tee off in the final pairings of Tuesday's second round with Pepperdine, Fresno State and Xavier beginning at 11:40 a.m.
                 
 

BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS
Rank Name Score
4. Morgan Miller 69
T5. Haylin Harris 70
T27. Natalie Vo 73
T56 Lauren Gooding 75
T84. Makenzie Cooper 79
     
TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS
Rank Name Score
1. Lauren Gomez, Pepperdine 67
T2. Darcy Habgood, Washington State 68
T2. Tracy Rodriguez, Mercer 68
4. Morgan Miller, Colorado 69
T5. Haylin Harris, Colorado 70
T5. Harriet Lynch, Fresno State 70
T5. Leigha Devine, Rutgers 70
T5. Sophie Bert, East Tennessee State 70
T5. Christina Carroll, Delaware 70
T5. Carol Pyon, Mercer 70
T5. Anna Watson, Eastern Michigan 70
     
TEAM SCORES
Rank Team Score
1. Pepperdine 285
T2. Colorado 287
T2. Fresno State 287
4. Xavier 288
T5. Kennesaw State 289
T5. Delaware 289
T5. Mercer 289
8. Washington State 290
9. East Tennessee State 291
T10. Little Rock 293
T10. Eastern Michigan 293
12. Rutgers 294
13. Northern Arizona 295
T14. New Mexico State 296
T14. Central Arkansas 296
16. Incarnate Word 301
17. Idaho 304
18. Northern Colorado 306
19. Southern Illinois 310
20. Evansville 323