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Retiree eclipses younger field

Citizen Staff Writer



Professional retirement for Judy Miller came with an answer to a lifelong question:

What would happen if she had the time, energy and desire to give golf her undivided attention?

She recently won the Tucson Women’s City Amateur with a 4-over 148 to cap a remarkable 2008.

“I was able to play maybe one USGA event a year while I was working,” said Miller, who was a special educator for deaf and hard of hearing children in the Monterrey, Calif., area. “I had always played, but not junior golf or anything. Just for fun when I could.”

Miller was smart enough to consult with teaching pro Kathy Murphy years ago.

“She has a good competitive mindset,” Murphy said. “Her strength was understanding good rhythm. Her play was erratic when she was not playing regularly but now she is playing at a high level.

“She has the ability to go one shot at a time and not let the past or future interfere, an ability good athletes have.”

Miller, the former Judy Bryan, was born and raised in Tucson, and graduated from Palo Verde High School and the University of Arizona. She put career first but from practically the time she played her first childhood round, she knew she was a victim of the game’s spell.

“It’s the closet thing to an addiction,” she said. “I was always a good player but not a good competitive player. Now I’m getting better at winning.

“Part of it is just confidence. And I enjoy beating the younger players.”

Miller took a five-stroke lead in the City Amateur and the next day held off Kelly Loeb’s 76 to win handily. Her year started off with the Arizona Women’s Golf Association senior player of the year award for 2007.

Her other victories in 2008 included the Randolph North Ladies Club Championship, gross play wins at Canoa Hills (Southern District stroke play) and Poston Butte Ranch, the Women’s Stroke Championship (gross) and the AWGA State Medallion (overall gross).

Her putting needed a good notion of confidence and came around slowly, Miller said.

Her ball-striking was always there, attests Murphy.

“She has always wanted to play more,” Murphy said. “Now she can. She has the openness for learning. It’s fitting.”

Retiree eclipses younger players at golf

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