By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Phillip Roller, a senior at Purdy High School, said Tuesday it was an easy choice when it came to more education and more golf.
“I didn’t look anywhere else,” Roller said of selecting Missouri Southern State University and Mike Wheeler’s golf team.
“Missouri Southern fit my needs,” Roller, who signed the national letter of intent last week, said. “Joplin is close to home. I know coach Wheeler. We know Mr. (Matthew) Holt in the music department.
“I probably will major in business management and perhaps minor in music,” Roller said. “For sure, I’ll take some music courses.”
Holt, an adjunct professor in the areas of music appreciation and show choir, is director of Southern Exposure, Music Theory, Accompanist.
Roller, a three-time Class 1 state qualifier in golf, has obvious goals next spring after falling short of achieving all-state designation (top 15) last season.
“I want to do a little better,” he said. “I want to earn all-state and, of course, I wouldn’t mind winning the tournament.”
Roller, as an individual highlight, shot a 72 in the Junior Collegiate Preview Invitational last summer at Twin Hills.
“Next summer I want to play in as many tournaments as I can,” Roller said.
His current coach at Purdy is Will Ernest after three years with Grant Young.
Phillip, the son of Carol and Kevin Roller, said dad naturally still is his No. 1 coach.
“I picked up playing golf from dad and he’s still the one with whom I probably work the most,” Phillip said.
Kevin Roller, a 1983 Purdy graduate, said he doubled that spring in golf (under Richard Place) and baseball (Jim Orrell). The elder Roller said he played a year at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College before deciding to join Missouri Southern.
A hand injury helped derail his competing for the Lions but it didn’t deter his love for the game. He quickly resumed and even played professionally for some three years in the early 1990s.
Phillip, who said he is fifth academically in the senior class, also plans to continue swimming in the summer with the Monett WaterThrashers (their head coach in 2012 was Christin Janssen).
His home course — some 20 minutes from his Purdy home — is Cassville Golf Club.