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It was the veteran against the rookie Wednesday afternoon and evening at the Logan River Golf Course.
Youth won out this time.
Braxton Miller celebrated his 23rd birthday by winning the Logan River Men’s Club Championship. In a hard fought match against seven-time champion Nick Summers, Miller was victorious 2 and 1.
“This is a good way to celebrate, right?” said Miller of playing on his birthday.
Summers was the defending champion. The 35-year-old who resides in Avon won his first title back in 2002. Miller was well aware of how good Summers was, despite just meeting him during this golf season.
“I just had to go in and think I was playing the golf course,” said Miller, who works at Logan River and is a member of the Utah State golf team. “An opponent like that, you can psych yourself out. You have to go play the course the best you can. ... Nick is a good player.”
Summers and Miller entered match play as the top two seeds and got to the final. It took Miller 21 holes in his semifinal match against former champ Nate Nyman.
Wednesday was a new day.
“Match play is more of a sprint than a marathon,” Miller said.
“I was hitting irons off the tees and finding fairways for the most part. ... Off the tee was working for me.”
Losing in the final is not new for Summers as it has happened four times now. However, it is never easy.
“I had two or three swings that ended up costing me some bogeys,” Summers said. “Essentially, that was the difference in the match.”
Trailing by two heading to the par-3 14th, Miller knew he couldn’t let up. The senior-to-be at USU and Middleton, Idaho, native tried to keep the pressure on.
“I tried to keep my foot on the gas as best I could, just knowing how Nick plays because he can sneak up on you at any time,” Miller said. “I tried to stick to my game plan.”
The final holes were a bit frustrating for Summers. He just missed a birdie putt on 14, a hole they halved. He left a tough birdie putt short on No. 15, another halved hole.
On No. 16, Miller got in a little trouble, but Summers couldn’t cash in. He lipped out a putt for birdie and they both ended up making par.
“Nick burnt so many edges, many opportunities that I escaped with,” Miller said. “I was lucky. ... I flared my 4-iron (on the approach) right and it was muddy and firm. I had to get it close.”
And he did.
When it was do-or-die for Summers, he nearly sank a lengthy birdie putt on No. 17. However, it stopped on the edge and would not drop. Miller putted up close, and that was the match as the pair shook hands.
“I hit a great putt on 16, just misread it,” Summers said. “On 17, you are just trying to get it close to the hole and hope you get lucky, and I almost did.”
The match began with both golfers picking up birdies on the first two holes. Miller took the early lead with a par on No. 3, while Summers had to take a bogey.
Summers won No. 6 with a long birdie putt and took No. 7 with a 4-foot birdie to surge in front. Usually that is bad news for his opponent, but as Summers pointed out, it was “way early in the match against a good player like Braxton.”
Miller didn’t panic despite being down for the first time in any match of the club championship. In fact, he took advantage of Summers finding the sand on No. 8 and squared the match. Miller then won No. 9 by rolling in a birdie putt. The Aggie golfer would lead the rest of the way.
“I just knew I needed to trust my swing and keep aiming for pins,” Miller said. “The greens were soft, so you could attack them. You just have to make putts. ... It was huge momentum for me to be 1-up (at the turn).”
Both golfers proved why they were playing for the title on No. 10. Miller found the drink, while Summers was way left of the hole on his drive Cam Newton Youth Jersey and had to hit around a tree. They both ended up with pars on the hole.
Miller went up two holes with a birdie on No. 13, while Summers had to take a bogey. The score stayed that way until the match was over.
Miller was 4-under-par when it ended on No. 17, while Summers was 1-under.
“It’s great to see the young players,” Summers said. “I don’t feel like I’m that much older than him until I count the years, then I’m afraid to say how many it is. ... Braxton is fun to watch. He’s got a lot of talent, good as I’ve seen in a long time. It’s fun to have a player like him around here.”
Miller hopes to carry the momentum into the Utah Open qualifier and then the college season with the Aggies.
In the other flights, Nate Stokes beat Kian Ben-Jacob in the A Flight, Dave Miller got the better of John Pappas in the B Flight, and Lyle Riggs won against Sheridan Peck in the C Flight.

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