Miller, Mustangs look for fourth team win of the year before postseason

Lauren Miller and the SMU Mustangs are on a hot streak. The 23rd-ranked Mustangs have won three tournaments to get themselves to their highest-ever ranking for the Women’s Golf Team. 

 

Now, they lead the entire field at the Chattanooga Golf Classic in southern Tennesee after the first day of play. 

 

Miller sits tied in fifth place through her second round – two strokes under par. 

 

The Mustang golfer, a Niceville High School Alum, has had a very good year on the fairways and greens. SMU has triumphed at the Hurricane Invitational, Trinity Forest Invitational, and Briar’s Creek Invitational.

 

“I appreciate the support and encouragement,” Miller said about support from Niceville, “I’m very grateful to my church community I had growing up.”

 

Three tournament wins – more than many teams have in four years. “This is my first time winning kind of three events in a year. So that’ll always kind of be something special. When I was at Mississippi State. I think the most we had, while I was there was one in a year. And unfortunately, the year we did win, it happened about three weeks before COVID.” Miller said ruefully over the phone.

 

 

"If you want to be able to accomplish the goals you have set out, if you are not really paying close attention to the details, it's gonna be really tough."
a woman smiling for a portrait
Lauren Miller
SMU Golfer, Niceville Alumni

Getting Ready for Pro Golf

After the Mustangs’ season ends, Miller, a 5th-year senior, will begin qualifying to get her LPGA tour card. 

 

Miller will head to qualifying school in August with about 350 other tour hopefuls. They play four rounds, with a winnowing of the competition after three games. At the end of the fourth round – about 120 players remain in the field of competitors. That is when they pair up with ladies who spent the last year on the Epson tour – a lower-tier tour for players to hone their skills before earning their player card. 

 

At the next stage – called the Final Stage, between 75-100 ladies will compete for the right to a tour card. They will compete with ladies who want to hold on to their tour card – all for 40 spots on tour. 

 

If Miller doesn’t qualify for the LPGA tour, she has another option – Europe. They have a similar setup to the US tour, which includes a qualifying process. The European Tour is “kind of in-between the LPGA and the Epson tour, in terms of competition and compensation. So I think that’s potentially a really cool option to take a year and go to Europe, play a sport that I love and get to do it in a bunch of countries in Europe,” Miller said. 

 

Ultimately, Miller is excited about the rest of her life, the opportunities in front of her, and the chance to play the sport to the best of her abilities. “I am just kind of interested to see what my life looks like, without academics. Academics have been such a huge part of my life for so long. And it’s always been something that I’ve really pursued very passionately. I’m very grateful to begin to walk away from college with three degrees in five years, and to have had all those great experiences I had in high school. At the same time, I know how much I’ve poured into [school]. I won’t have to necessarily be focusing time on that. So, ‘let’s see how good I can get this game of golf,’ knowing that I can be really as focused on on that, and being able to really pursue that with my all.”

 

 

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a woman smiling for a portrait
Lauren Miller was awarded the 2023 Women's Collegiate Award by the All Sports Association at their annual banquet on February 24th.

Lessons Learned: What Miller Says To Younger Golfers

After success at Niceville High School, Mississippi State, and now SMU – Miller has a fine-tuned sense of what brings success in the amateur golf world. She says that these emphases have made her career successful thus far.

1. Don't be afraid to fail

“I wish I would have known [early] to not be afraid to fail or not be afraid to ask questions. You have such great resources around you when you enter college.”

2. Get to know your teammates

“They have so much to offer,” Miller said, “[don’t] see them as competito  rs, but really see them as family. Pour into them and let them pour into you – and do that with the coaching staff. Take the time to get to know your coaches and develop trust to learn a lot from them and gain wisdom.”

3. Time Management

“If you want to be able to accomplish the goals you have set out, if you are not really paying close attention to the details, it’s gonna be really tough.” 

Pick two: Athletics, Academics, Social Life

“You really have to pick two. And so for me, I knew like athletics, and academics were most important. While my social life may have suffered a little bit, it was worth it. Because [forgoing some social activities] gave me clear focus on, ‘hey, what is going to be best for me in the long run based on these goals that I have, I know that I need to be pouring my time into, you know, athletics and academics.’”

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