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HINGHAM, Massachusetts – The first round of the 52nd annual Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament kicked off Wednesday at Hingham’s Boston Golf Club, and at the completion of the first 18-holes, 13 of the 97 total competitors split across three respective divisions shot par or better. This year’s edition is the second straight year that the tournament has been managed by Mass Golf and listed as one of the Mass Golf Championship Propers. The tournament was originally started by the friends of the late 1913 U.S. Open champion Francis Ouimet himself in 1968, then later managed by the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund through the 2017 event before Mass Golf began tournament operations in 2018.
Thursday’s second round will also be contested at Boston Golf Club before the final round on Friday heads to Auburndale’s Woodland Golf Club – Ouimet’s home course – where the top-30 and ties in the Championship Division and the top-12 and ties in both the Eddie Lowery Senior Division and the Women’s Division will compete for respective titles.
Championship Division Highlights
Playing in his first Mass Golf Championship since winning the 111th Massachusetts Amateur Championship on July 19, Swampscott’s Steven DiLisio aced his final hole and went 4-under in his final four holes to finish his first round of the 52nd Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament at 6-under 65 to lead the field of 53 competitors in the Championship Division.
Playing in the Championship Division field, the largest of the three divisions in play this week, DiLisio got out to an early start Wednesday by birdying the first hole. He added a second birdie on the par-3 sixth hole and made the turn at 1-under 34, and once to the back nine, tallied two more birdies in addition to an eagle on the par-5 17th before putting an exclamation point on his day with an ace on the par-3 18th hole.
The rising senior on the Duke University Men’s Golf team, who earlier in the day was named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar for the 2018-19 season, registered his third career ace with the 18-hole tally Wednesday afternoon.
DiLisio leads Old Sandwich Golf Club’s Charlie DuBiel, a rising junior on the Cornell University Men’s Golf Team, Charles River Country Club’s Conner Willett, a rising junior on the Belmont Hill School Boy’s Golf team, and Nashawtuc Country Club’s Matt Organisak, a rising senior on the Emory University Men’s Golf team, by four strokes apiece after the trio each carded 2-under 69’s. DuBiel registered five birdies to three bogeys while Willett, of Wellesley and the 2016 Massachusetts Young Golfers’ Amateur champion, tallied six birdies to four bogeys. Orgsanisak had seven birdies in total.
Dubiel and Organisak were both exempt into this year’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament as a result of their performances in last year’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament, while Willett was exempt into this week’s Championship Proper as a result of his quarterfinalist finish at the 2018 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship.
Eddie Lowery Senior Division Highlights
Two days after qualifying for his first U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at The Kittansett Club, in his first attempt nonetheless, North Easton’s Steven Tasho (Thorny Lea GC) came out of the gates firing on Wednesday, carding a 4-under 67 to lead the contingent of 29 seniors in this year’s Championship Proper. The 60-year old, a two-time former Massachusetts Amateur champion, tallied six birdies to two bogeys to jump out to a five-stroke lead over Plymouth Country Club’s Don Foberg and Franklin Country Club’s Keith Smith, a fellow first-time U.S. Senior Amateur championship qualifier earlier this week.
Exempt into the Championship following his top-5 finish in last year’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament’s senior division, Tasho birdied Holes 14, 15 and 17 on his front nine, then added three more on Holes 2, 4 and 8, respectively.
Women’s Division Highlights
After finishing her first round of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament at 1-under 71, the only competitor in the women’s division to finish under par, Jamaica Plain’s Anne Walsh (The Country Club) holds a one-stroke lead over recent University of Richmond graduate Sophie DiPetrillo (Blue Hill CC), of Dover, who had tallied four birdies to two bogeys and a double to finish at even-par.
The 17-year old Walsh, who is coming off her first year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, got off to a slow start Wednesday after bogeying three of her first five holes, but quickly found her groove by playing par or better on her remaining 13 holes.
Walsh, a recent participant in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball and a first alternate at the U.S. Girls’ Junior qualifier at Marlborough Country Club on June 24, birdied the par-5 ninth hole to dig into her early deficit, then carded helpers on both the par-4 10th and 12th holes, respectively. She added a fourth birdie on the birdie on the par-5 15th hole to edge DiPetrillo by one stroke.
Walsh earned exemption into this year’s Championship field after finishing as the Top Mass Golf affiliated finisher in the 2019 U.S. Challenge Cup (Girls Open Division) at Connecticut National on June 19-20. Walsh finished the Dale Smith Junior Stroke Play Championship, which was also a qualifier into this year’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament, by finishing at 10-over 154 in 36 holes of play.
Groveland’s Krystal Knight (Bradford CC), a 2018 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship semifinalist and recent graduate of Merrimack College, sits third behind Walsh and DiPetrillo in the Women’s Division at 2-over 74.
About The Ouimet Memorial Tournament
The following is from an excerpt in the Fall 2017 edition of the Mass Golfer magazine that highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and announced the operation change for the tournament. The entire article can be viewed here.
The Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament is one of the most well-known amateur golf events in the Northeast. Originally founded by his many friends as a way to honor Francis Ouimet, the famous winner of the 1913 U.S. Open Championship following his death in 1967 and to benefit the Scholarship Fund that had been set up in his name in 1949, the tournament itself was to be a 54-hole stroke-play tournament at Auburndale’s Woodland Golf Club as a way “to assist the Ouimet Fund, fill a void by providing a competitive medal play event for young amateurs and to perpetuate the name of Francis Ouimet,” according to Woodland member and the Ouimet Memorial Tournament’s founding chairman, Tom Barrett.
In 1975, the tournament came under the operation of the Ouimet Scholarship Fund itself and transformed from an event that was held exclusively at Woodland Golf Club to an event that was played on successive days at Bay State courses before the final round was to be held at Woodland itself – the home course of Francis Ouimet.
In 1999, the Ouimet Fund introduced a senior division for the tournament – named the Eddie Lowery Division – after Ouimet’s famous caddie sidekick Eddie Lowery, who would go on to have a well-known career in golf, and in 2004, the tournament introduced a women’s division.
In 2018, the operation of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament switched from the Fund itself to the staff of Mass Golf, who shares its headquarters with the Ouimet Fund in Norton, Mass. and has a long history of running top-notch amateur and professional golf championships, qualifiers, and other related events. In 2018, under the tutelage of Mass Golf, the format of the tournament transformed from a traditional invitational and exemption format that had preceded in the previous 49 years of the tournament to one that was based on merit in Mass Golf competition and exemptions. The change of operation allowed the Ouimet Fund to focus on key fundraising initiatives, such as its popular Golf Marathon, its bag tag program, and other club relations programs.
Beginning in 2018, the Ouimet Memorial Tournament featured three days of competition for all three rounds, with the first two rounds conducted at the same venue, and in remaining with the original format of the event, the third and final round for each of the three divisions has continued to be played at Woodland.
For more information regarding the Ouimet Memorial Tournament, visit MassGolf.org or follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf.