Friday, March 4, 2011

Zack Miller on Tour --- AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am & Nissan Open at Riviera

2007 Stanford grad Zack Miller continues his fine play increasing his money winnings to more than $300,000 on the PGA Tour.  He writes about his experiences in a blog for CSNBayArea.com.

Zack Miller
PGA TOUR Professional
The last two weeks have been great golfing weeks.
Photo by CSN Bay Area
Let's start with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I love playing in the Monterey area. I don't make it down there from the Bay Area too often but they've got so many great courses in such close proximity. I stayed at a friend's house who lives just down the road from Pebble which was extremely convenient for me to get to the three courses that week. I played in a Pro-Am at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (MPCC) for the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey on Monday and then played the next two days at Pebble. My amateur partner was Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems and a good friend of mine who has been an avid supporter of Stanford golf for a long time now. I've gotten to know Scott and his family (Susan, Maverick, Dakota, Colt, Scout, and their dog Shelby) over the past 7 years. A great teammate for the week. The rest of the group was comprised of Joe Bramlett, my teammate for one year at Stanford and Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo! and another great supporter of Stanford Golf. The week was shaping up for a lot of fun.
I open opened up with even par (72) at Pebble and -1 (70) at MPCC. A few of my highlights from Pebble included chipping in twice and holing out a 56 yard shot on 18 for par after hooking my drive into the Ocean. That shot alone -- saving par and avoiding bogey or worse -- was such a huge momentum saver.
My third round at Spyglass was one to remember; it was my most solid round of the the year. I really didn't miss-hit a shot until my first bogey on the par-3 12. I made nine birdies and three bogies that day, which included being 8-under through 15 holes. A truly great ball striking round with a solid putting day to add to it. Just one of those days where everything clicked. I shot 66. It propelled me into 12th place going into the final round and earned a pairing with Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach! Unfortunately our Pro-Am score was not quite good enough to make it to the final day. Scott and I lost in a card-off for the final Pro-Am berth.
The only times I felt nervous that last day was at the beginning and end of the round. My caddy said, "Don't be freaked out when Phil shakes your hand and has glove his on". I only felt a little nervous when I saw him on the putting green, but once we met and announced on the first tee I felt comfortable. Both Phil and Hunter were complete gentlemen and could not have been any nicer. That goes for both their caddies as well, John wood and Bones. Bones comes over to my bag on 1 because we were waiting for the green to clear and asked what my Saint Marks Elementary golf team bag tag was all about. I said I just got it from my PE teacher from back in the the day and I guess I had just become an honorary member of the team. He just chuckled to himself.
It was a day to remember. A great weather day at Pebble and a pairing with two Ryder cup members who are both Top 20 in the world -- not too bad. I shot 71 (-1) and finished tied for ninth for the week, collecting my biggest pay check of the my career ($163K+). The Top 10 finish also solidified a spot for me in the L.A. Open at Riviera the following week -- a great perk since I was not going to get into the event before Pebble.
Now moving onto the L.A. Open. Riviera is a beast of a golf course. The event boasted the strongest field for a tournament I had participated in all year. For the first time, I saw guys like Louie OosthuzienPaul CaseyLuke Donald, and Ryo Ishikawa.


Read more: Miller: Making PGA cuts and cashing checks
Tune to SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for more on this story 

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