TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Brother's memory inspires Jeannette native Nic Milito on golf course

About Brian Knavish
Brian Knavish 724-838-5154
Freelance Reporter
Jeannette Spirit

Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Nicolas Milito putts during the Westmoreland County Amateur Tournament at Hannastown Golf Club near Greensburg.

By Brian Knavish

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sometimes golf is more than just a game.

Jeannette native Nic Milito has been an avid golfer for as long as he can remember. Nic's brother, Anthony, always supported his brother's passion for the sport, but never got into the game himself.

These days, though, Anthony is with Nic every time he golfs. Every single round.

In fact, earlier this month, Anthony helped his brother win the Westmoreland County Amateur golf tournament.

Anthony died in a motorcycle accident last September at the age of 21. Nic, 25, dedicated the tournament win to his brother's memory.

“It's always nice when you put a lot of hard work into something, and you see results come from it,” said Nic. “It was tough, after everything that happened to my family, but it gives me a little more comfort knowing that my brother is with me all the time. That makes we want to play better and continue to succeed for him.”

Pride, excitement and remnants of pain were obvious in Nic's voice as he described the victory. The circumstances of the championship tournament made the event extra-special — and that much more emotional. In a touching twist of fate, Nic was paired his first cousins, twin brothers Ronald and David DeNunizo, on the final day of the tournament.

The trio finished Saturday's round within one stroke of each other atop the leader board before Nic pulled ahead on Sunday and won with a three-under-par 137.

It was his third title in the past four years at the event.

The last time Nic won the title was in 2011 when he edged out his cousin David for the victory in what was also an emotional tournament during which they played in memory of Denise DeNunzio — Nic's aunt and David's mother — who had died of cancer just two months before.

Nic, David and Ronald have played golf together for years, but this competition marked the first time they've been paired together in the final round of a major tournament.

Emotions were pumping for the entire family, those on the course, those watching from the sidelines and those there in spirit.

“It was special,” Nic said of playing with his cousins. “We spend a lot of time together, trying to make ourselves as good as possible. Losing my aunt, their mother, two years ago and then Anthony, those are experiences we never thought we'd be a part of. But we keep moving forward . . . we have to do everything in our power to live our lives in their honor, and that's what we've been trying to do.”

Nic, who played collegiately at IUP, practices virtually every day and plays in tournaments nearly every week during golf season. This summer, he has been has been at or atop the leader board more often.

“It's gotten me to the point where I want to continue to succeed for him, and do it in his honor,” said Nic. “This summer, especially, I've been playing pretty well. I credit (Anthony) for a lot of that.”

Nic's next goal is to win the Pennsylvania Amateur Golf Championship, which will be held July 29-31 at Saucon Valley Country Club, near Allentown.

“This year has been kind of a breakthrough year for me,” he said. “If I play really well, and with a little bit of luck, this could be the year (I win the Pennsylvania amateur).”

Ultimately, Nic hopes to turn pro.

“That's the goal right now,” he said. “When you're playing well, you want to keep the momentum going.”

Nic knows that's something Anthony would have loved to see.

“It's tough not having him here,” he said. “I really want to do something that would make him proud.”

It seems Nic already has.

Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates trade for Mets 1B Davis
  2. Crews search for Latrobe woman in Linn Run State Park
  3. Pittsburgh-area students on the hunt for the perfect prom dress
  4. Pirates notebook: Players show support for Franklin Regional
  5. Hempfield native, 22, publishes with local independent press
  6. Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
  7. Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
  8. Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
  9. Sculpture at Phipps links art and sustainability
  10. Pa. unemployment rate falls to lowest since 2008; 12,000 more enter workforce
  11. City Theatre cancels ‘Grounded’ through April 20
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.