Dreamed of Winning the Event Since Age 14
Simon Miller, a 26-year-old state budget analyst, pulled away from the field to take the 2019 Greater Albuquerque Men’s Golf Championship Sunday at Los Altos Golf Course. He posted scores of 68-68-67 as the event was held across all three 18-hole city golf courses over three days.
Simon Miller finished four strokes ahead of Alejandro Armijo, 19, who finished at 9-under. Armijo had started the day one shot behind Miller. Armijo posted rounds of 67-70-70.
“I really felt the nerves,” Miller said. “I knew Alejandro was a really good player.”
“I was trying to keep my emotions in check,” he said.
Miller, a graduate of Albuquerque Academy, said he has dreamed of winning the event since he first played in it at age 14.
He holed out a flop shot on No. 14 as he cruised to victory in the final round. “I gave my caddie a high five and think I hurt his hand,” he said.
The win was a contrast to Miller’s showing at the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association’s New Mexico-West Texas Amateur Championship at Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club two weeks ago, where he wasn’t competitive, posting scores of 77-78-83.
The winner was 57-year-old Greg Condon of Monte Vista, Col., who claimed his third New Mexico-West Texas title.
Miller said he was more confident on the wide open Los Altos layout, where instead of likely playing a provisional at the hilly and forested Paa-Ko, he expected to be able to find an errant tee shot and play from a dirt lie. “Precise, that’s not really my game,” he said.
Miller said his full-time state job makes him a 9-to-5 worker who can’t get away to play as much as he’d like. He said he’ll play in as many area amateur events as he can going forward, work permitting.
Mark Smith, a former Albuquerque Journal sportswriter who covered the City Men’s event for 40 years, presented Miller with the “Mark “Ticky” Smith trophy, which tournament organizers named after Smith several years ago.
Dan Vukelich, editor of New Mexico Golf News, is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at email@example.com