Feb. 25, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - No matter the sport, USC Upstate junior women's golfer Julie Miller enjoys competition. After playing basketball, softball, track and volleyball growing up, Miller brings that competitive fire to the golf course for the Spartans.
Miller has enjoyed two top 10 finishes this season including tied for eighth at the FGCU Invitational. Since 2006-07, she has two top five and six top 10 finishes for Upstate.
Golfing has deep roots in Miller's family. Her sister, Katie, was an All-ACC performer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her father also played college golf.
Recently, Miller sat down with Adam Walker of upstatespartans.com to talk about playing in Division I, her favorite golfers and her head coach, Todd Lawton.
US.com: How long have you been playing golf?
Julie Miller: I have been playing for about seven or eight years.
US.com: Why did you start playing golf?
JM: My dad played golf in college and my sister started when she was very young. I would hit golf balls in the backyard them with and that's what got me started.
US.com: Are you pleased with the current state of you golf game?
JM: I think there is always room for improvement. I'm playing well, but I guess it depends on the conditions and stuff that can change things.
US.com: How excited were you and your teammates to play in Division I this season?
JM: It's pretty cool. We are getting the opportunity to play in bigger tournaments and travel farther distances to different places. It makes things exciting, but we know that if we can play well and succeed, we'll get to go to more places.
US.com: How much do you enjoy being on the course with your teammates?
JM: I love it. It's fun, relaxing and we have a good time. We can joke around when were we're out there together, you leave all your worries behind and nothing else matters.
US.com: Do both the men's and women's golf teams support each other a lot?
JM: We are very good friends with each other. We hang out on and off the course, we practice and work out together, we've been together since we were freshmen and become part of each other's lives. We look forward to see how we do in the tournaments and we are there for support.
US.com: Other than golf, is there any other sport you feel you could've played at the collegiate level?
JM: I don't know about college, but, when I was in high school, I played softball, basketball, I ran track and volleyball. I still enjoy playing pick-up games and messing around. I love basketball, but I'm just a little short.
US.com: Who is your favorite golfer and why?
JM: I like Tiger Woods. When he has his mind set on something, he goes out and gets it. He's not scared to show emotion on the course when it comes to how he's playing. Also, my sister graduated from North Carolina and played with Meaghan Francella, who beat Annika Sorenstam in a playoff. After watching Meaghan play while Katie was playing with her in college tournaments, ACC tournaments, NCAA tournaments and beating Annika, one of the best women's golfers today, it's awesome. She gives a lot of hope to everyone else that is playing that anything can happen.
US.com: What is it like playing for coach Todd Lawton?
JM: He's crazy. He's fun and tournaments are always fun because you don't know just what you're in for. When he comes up to you on the course when you are not playing well or having a bad day, he can crack a joke to make things better and he knows when you need to be calmed down or pumped up. He's a great guy.
US.com: What are your plans after you graduate from USC Upstate?
JM: I want to go to graduate school. I'm not sure where yet, but my major is Communications and I'm keeping my options open. I want to do something like pharmaceutical sales or I would love to get my tour card and be a teaching pro. I teach junior golf over the summer at a country club back home. I definitely want to go to grad school and see what's out there for me.