Qualifier Miller: 'Quite a journey so far'


SAN FRANCISCO – Since that winding birdie putt dropped on the fourth extra hole in Columbus, Ohio, Dennis Miller has fielded “over 1,000” text messages and emails, seamlessly ran a 300-player outing for the Youngstown, Ohio Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday and wrestled with the notion that at 42, his golf dreams have finally come true.

“Quite a journey so far,” Miller said on Monday at The Olympic Club.

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The longtime golf director at Mill Creek Park in Youngstown may not be among the favorites for this week’s U.S. Open, but he is easily the sentimental favorite considering how many times he’d tried and failed to qualify for the national championship (12) and how, during last Monday’s sectional qualifier in Ohio, he finally achieved his dreams in dramatic fashion.

Miller finished 36 holes last Monday tied for the final spot into the U.S. Open, and when his 18-foot birdie attempt seemed to stall on the edge of the cup on the fourth extra hole, his shoulders slumped, and he dropped his head. An instant later the ball dropped, and Miller was heading to The Olympic Club.

“We actually debated on going to the qualifier because I was an alternate,” Miller said. “I could never have dreamed of qualifying for the U.S. Open in this fashion, that’s for sure.”

Like the man who hit the putt, Miller’s birdie attempt just needed a little extra time.