PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MASSACHUSETTS GOLF ASSOCIATION
Medalist Steven DiLisio (right) with Harry McCracken, Jr. (center) and MGA Executive Director Jesse Menachem.
NEWTON – It was a first of historic proportions, for Swampscott’s Steven DeLisio and the Massachusetts Golf Association.
For the first time in Massachusetts Amateur Championship history, the stroke-play medalist (i.e. the individual who posts the lowest cumulative score following the 36-hole stroke-play portion of the event) was awarded the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. Stroke Play Medalist Award.
The individual receiving that award was 19-year-old DiLisio, who plays out of Salem Country Club. .
Over a two-day period, DiLisio posted a score of 3-under par 137 to finish as medalist and earn the top seed heading into match play, which will begin this morning at 8 at Charles River Country Club in Newton. DeLisio squares off against Stephen Demare of George Wright GC.
This year’s cut line fell at 7-over par 147 with the final two spots being decided in a five-for-two sudden-death playoff that lasted six holes on Tuesday evening. Brett Krekorian of Indian Ridge was eliminated in the playoff.
The first two rounds of match play – round of 32 and round of 16 – will be contested today. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on Thursday with the finale coming on Friday when the last two competitors standing will compete in a 36-hole final match.
For DiLisio, this year marks only the second time in his career that he has advanced to match play. Two years ago at Oak Hill Country Club, DiLisio was defeated in the round of 32 by Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse).
“It is a great honor,” said DiLisio just prior to the official medalist ceremony which included McCracken as well as a crowd of competitors, club members and spectators. “To be the first one is pretty awesome. He has been out here for as long as I have been playing tournaments and a lot longer than I have been playing. I have been able to spend some time with him at the New England events and it is just such an honor to share this with him.”
After posting a 1-under par 69 on Monday DiLisio bettered his play by carding a 2-under par 68 to secure himself the top seed.
“I have played pretty solid both days,” said DiLisio, who finished with five birdies on Tuesday. “I started well today and birdied my first hole and just seemed like I was off to a solid start. I have been hitting it really well. I had a lot of scoring irons and wedges into the green and I think I hit 16 or 17 greens today.”
Despite living just an hour away from Charles River Country Club, DiLisio was unfamiliar with the course until just a few weeks ago. A club member Charlie Deehan – whom DiLisio had recently met – invited him to play in a member-guest.
Without laying an eye on the course, DiLisio made birdie on the first five holes that day.
“Mr. Deehan said that he liked to win and that I better play well,” said DiLisio with a laugh. “I birdied one and two and he was giving me a hard time about starting and said, ‘Well you have to birdie the first five or it doesn’t matter,’ and then I birdied the first five which was funny. It was a lot of fun.”
Through 36 holes, DiLisio has made seven birdies and one hole in one.
Several other North Shore golfers advanced to today’s match play: Chris Francoeur of Haverhill plays Cody Brooks of CC of Greenfield; Nick Maccario of Bradford CC faces Brian Bassett of Oyster Harbor; Charlie May of Ferncroft plays Michael Soulotis of Haverhill CC; Mark Turner of Bass Rocks plays Doug Clapp of Old Sandwich GC.
Other local competitors were Bradford Tufts, Tedesco; Zack Ungvarsky, Bradford; Kevin Daly, Salem CC; Phil Miceli, Sagamore Springs; Gregory Poor, Haverhill; Christopher Brewer, Beverly G&T; Athan Goulos, Ferncroft; Ryan Anderson, Beverly G&T; Andrew Gerety, Bellevue; Matt Schena, Haverhill; Sean Andrews, Thomson; James Turner, Bass Rocks.