If you told Kyle Mueller he would be competing for a national championship when he came to Michigan four years ago, he may not have believed you.
“I think I’m a little bit surprised. Maybe not so much anymore. I know I’ve put a lot of work into my game. Going into my freshman year if you would have told me I would have had this career I would have taken it any day of the week," he said.
Mueller is coming off a regional championship win last week in Ohio.
As his coach Chris Whitten explains, the victory made Michigan history. "First Michigan player to win outright. Second to win — we had a player in 2011 win it when our team did as well — but he’s rewriting the Michigan record books for sure."
Now he’s focused on the upcoming national championship which begins Friday. Whitten believes he has what it takes to win it all and join the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.
"I think he’s got a good of a chance as anybody, just based on the way his game is and knowing what the course is like that we’re going to," Whitten said,
And Mueller agrees. "Absolutely, I don’t see why not. If I said no, then I don’t think there’s any point in going down there and competing. My game feels the best it has in a long time. So if I get that putter going then I think anything can happen."
Aside from his game, Mueller may have tool in his kit: the course itself.
"This is Karsten creek — it’s Oklahoma State’s home course. They’re probably the preeminent program in college golf. The course is long, it’s unforgiving, you have to drive it really, really well. The greens are really slope-y and a little bit crazy, so it’s all ball striking. You’re either going to make big numbers or you’re going to be in position and Kyle’s just great at keeping it in play, but also hitting it far," explained Whitten.
"Everybody says it’s one the hardest courses out there. It really suits a player who hits the ball well and that’s definitely the strength of my game," Mueller said.
Regardless of what happens next week — Mueller still has a lot to look forward to
"After NCAA’s I’m going to turn professional, give that a go. I figured I put all this work into it why not at least give it a chance."