To say it's been a solid Western New York PGA Junior Tour season for area golfers Nolan Ditcher, Wil Lockwood and Marissa Delmonaco doesn't quite do them justice.
To say it's been a Player-of-the-Year type season, now, that's more like it.
Following yet another outstanding showing in a season of outstanding showings last Thursday and Friday during the two-day ANAdeeds WNY PGA Junior Tour Championship, Ditcher, Lockwood and Delmonaco finished atop the season-long points standings and as such were named the Tour's players of the year for their respective divisions.
Much like the PGA's FEDEX Cup, the WNY PGA Junior Tour Player of the Year award is determined by the amount of points a competitor earns over the course of the season, which began in late April at Midvale Country Club in Penfield and ended recently with the two-day Junior Tour Championship. Players must compete in at least 10 (of 28 total) events, and points are awarded to players depending on what place they finish in each of those 10 events - the winner earns 50 points, the runnerup 40, third gets 30 and so on.
Ditcher, a Randolph resident, racked up 425 points to capture the Boys 13-15 Division player-of-the-year honors with a comfortable cushion. In second was Chris Yustin, who had 348 points while in third was Ben Reichart with 330.
Winning the award had long been on Ditcher's to-do list.
"I feel really good about it," he said on Saturday evening. "I'd actually been the runnerup the last two years, so this was one of my goals. It's relieving (to finally get it)."
Ditcher, a scratch golfer who had the award all but locked up heading into the season-ending tournament championship, made it official when he fired a 76-74-150 to win the Junior Tour Championship by a one-stroke margin over the aforementioned Reichart.
"It was back-and-forth in the second round," he said of the victory. "I went into the last hole with a three-shot lead, and had just enough to hold on."
The 15-year-old won six of his 10 events this year, and finished second in another on the way to the hefty, and prize-winning, point total.
Lockwood, a Bemus Point native, secured player of the year for the Boys 16-18 Division with an impressive showing on Aug. 12, the final event of the season before the Tour Championship.
"I had a bunch of solid wins (this season)," he said, "but the one in Lancaster topped it all off."
Lockwood, who sports a 1-handicap, fired a 2-under-par 70 at the event in Lancaster, and then followed that with a pair of 79s (for a total of 158) to finish second overall in the Tour Championship.
"I had the lead for most of the day," Lockwood said, "but then I had a pretty bad 17th hole and lost it. It was tough, and close the whole way."
The soon-to-be Maple Grove senior finished the year with 358 points - he won four events, and placed in all others but one - while the runnerup was Caleb Edwards, who had 326.33 points, and Jordan Stanley was third with 323.
Delmonaco, a 14-year-old who lives in Little Valley but plays high school golf at Southwestern, won two events this season, and, coupled with four second-place and three third-place finishes, won the Girls 18-hole Division with 379 points.
Molly Balbierz was second with 357 and Victoria Parker third with 332.
"It's really awesome (to be player of the year)," Delmonaco said. "There's some great players (on the WNY PGA Tour) and you can never slack if you want to win."
Delmonaco, who credits the teaching of her high school golf coach, Mark Sleggs, as a major reason for her success, put the finishing touches on her player-of-the-year winning season with a fourth-place finish at the Junior Tour Championship.
She delivered an opening-day score of 88, but then shaved 10 strokes off that score in the second round to finish with a two-day total of 166, just three strokes off a third-place finish and 12 off the lead.
"The first day (at Cobblestone Creek Country Club in Victor) was really uncomfortable. I had to use irons on 300-(plus) yard tee (shots)," the 7-handicap said. "But on the second day I could use the driver much more and I was able to put myself in much better position."
In addition to winning player of the year, another highlight of Delmonaco's season was a victory on July 10 in the Western New York Section Junior PGA Championship, which qualified her (and her alone) to represent the Western New York section and play at the 38th annual Junior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.
"It was kind of a surprise that I won because the girl I was playing was a senior and the favorite," Delmonaco said. "But I shot the round of my life that day (she shot a 75) and I guess it was just my day to win."
All in all it was some kind of season for the trio. Best of all, given their youth, each are set to compete once again next year in the WNY PGA Tour.
Yes, it's looking like this might have been just the first of many award-winning seasons to come.