Andrew Bonner has progressed in every way physical, mental, on and off the golf course.
He's also making tough decisions, the kind that will shape his immediate future.
Bonner, the Ripon resident and Central Catholic High senior, has committed to Colorado University for his collegiate golf. One of Northern California's top young players selected the Buffaloes over Oregon.
"I loved the campus and I loved the coach (Roy Edwards)," Bonner said. "I felt comfortable there. I think it was my best fit."
There were no wrong choices here. Oregon coach Casey Martin wanted him, and Southern Methodist and UCLA also were in the mix. Though Bonner still had about two months to decide, he felt the time was right to declare.
"There were three or four college coaches at every tournament. It was stressful on me," he said. "I was constantly thinking about it and it started to affect my play. So I talked it over with my parents and we decided to choose. I feel a lot better about it now."
Bonner has signed for a full ride with an up-and-coming program Edwards enters his seventh season that won two tournaments last year and placed eighth in Colorado's first season in the Pacific-12 Conference. Other signees include Kraig McLeod of Carmel High and Philip Juel-Berg of Denmark.
"Colorado is not known for its golf but maybe others from California will follow me there," Bonner said. "I am confident we can build up."
Bonner is catching his breath after a hectic summer schedule during which he was home for only about two weeks. He's the run-away leader on the Junior Golf Association of Northern California points list as he makes his junior golf farewell.
It is the scores he has shot, however, that have impressed everyone. Simply, Bonner can go low. This year alone in competition, he has shot 63 at Woodbridge Country Club in Lodi, 63 at his home course at Spring Creek CC and a 64 at Stanford to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
He tied for fourth (72-70), only one stroke off the pace, during the Junior Amateur's medal play in New England, before falling in the first round of match play.
"We haven't seen those kind of scores around here in a long time," said Ken Miller, the owner of McHenry Golf Center and a JGANC official. "He's a special talent."
The junior golf crowd can't complain about Bonner's performance. He played a major role in the Northern California team's second straight back-to-back victories in the Junior America's Cup and the Hogan Cup competitions.
Individually, Bonner tied for 12th at the America's Cup in Idaho and tied for 12th at the Hogan Cup in Portland. His contributions, however, extended beyond tee shots and putts.
"His leadership of those teams was crucial. He took charge," said Miller who coached those teams along with fellow Modestan Dana Ebster. "Last year, he placed second individually at both tournaments, and the other kids have looked up to him ever since."
Bonner has upgraded in all areas. More work with his short game and continued communication with Dr. Glen Albaugh, the well-known sports psychologist from Stockton, have paid off. Albaugh and Bonner have been a team for about four years.
"Dr. Albaugh has been a big influence on me. When I wasn't playing that great, he just told me it would come in time. He was right," Bonner said. "With my game, I've gotten to the point where if I have a wedge in my hand, I expect to make birdie."
Arguably the most important thing to know about Bonner is that he still loves the game. It never has been work to him. Though he sometimes chafes over the travel, he never gets tired of hitting that driver on the sweet spot.
"The golf part is awesome. It's addicting," he said. "I could play every day all day." Bonner's goal is to reach the PGA Tour. So far, he taking the right steps.
"I'm excited for college golf," he said. "I think I'll improve more."
HOLE-IN-ONE Vern Rekow, Patterson, 129-yard seventh at Poppy Ridge (Chardonnay), Livermore, 8-iron.