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LONGMEADOW, Massachusetts – One year ago, Swampscott’s Steven DiLisio advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach, the first such USGA Championship for the Duke University golfer. After a stellar junior season in Durham and a great start to the summer, highlighted by a win in the Amateur Invitational two weeks ago, DiLisio punched his ticket to a second straight Championship Proper Monday at Longmeadow Country Club. Following rounds of 66-67-133, the 21-year old took the top spot on the leaderboard to earn medalist honors and a spot to this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
Fellow Bay Stater Jacob Zaranek, of South Deerfield, earned the second of two spots to the U.S. Amateur at the Longmeadow qualifying site Monday after firing a 6-under 134 over 36-holes, including a second round 5-under 65. Additionally, Attleboro’s Davis Chatfield and Swampscott’s Christian Emmerich captured two of three spots from qualifying at Metacomet Country Club in Providence that was conducted by the Rhode Island Golf Association.
The quartet will also be joined by Wellesley’s Michael Thorbjornsen and Brockton’s Matt Parziale, who are both exempt into the Championship field due to previous success in USGA competition.
In Monday’s 36-hole qualifier, DiLisio carded nine birdies in total, including five in his opening nine holes, to pace the remainder of his round.
“It’s awesome. [The U.S. Amateur] is a great tournament and it was a great experience last year and I hope to be able to use that experience last year to perform a little better this time around,” said DiLisio following his 36-hole qualifier, which lasted a little over 10 hours from his first tee shot Monday morning to his final putt Monday evening. “I am really excited.”
Beginning on Longmeadow’s back nine to start his morning round, DiLisio birdied the par-10th and the par-4 11th – his first two holes – and went as low as 5-under through his first nine to take an early lead amongst the field of 69 players.
“I had it going early,” explained DiLisio. “The first round I shot 5-under on the first nine and was hitting a lot of putts and making a lot of good shots. I cooled off a little bit on the back nine and didn’t get quite as many to go in, but can’t complain much about a 66.
In the second half of Monday’s 36-hole qualifier, DiLisio, who goes to school about an hour from this year’s U.S. Amateur host site, found nearly as much success playing Longmeadow Country Club’s back nine a second time around, where he tallied three of his four afternoon birdies on Holes 10-18.
“This afternoon, it got hot and it was a pretty long round. I made a bogey on seven that woke me up a little bit because you can sometimes get in the zone and get comfortable hitting shots and making pars. I knew I had to keep up and I was trying to play the golf course.”
Like Dilisio, Jacob Zaranek of South Deerfield and a rising junior on the Fairfield University men’s golf team, had one magnificent nine-hole side that paced the rest of his day. After carding a 1-under 69 in his first 18, Zaranek started off his second half of the 36-hole qualifier by birdying each of the first five holes to quickly leap up the leaderboard and put himself in a position to be in contention come the end of the round.
The 21-year old added two more birdies on his final nine holes to finish at 69-65-134, a score that allowed him to sneak into the final spot on the leaderboard.
“I am just excited to be able to go and compete against some of the best amateurs in the country,” said Zaranek following the completion of play. I’m just very happy with the way I played today and the way everything has been going, so [my game] has been playing good.”
After advancing to his first USGA Championship earlier this season when he played in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, Zaranek hopes to use that experience to his advantage.
“Now that I know how USGA Championships are run, I now know that I can compete with some of the best players in the country and I feel like I can build off that experience and that it will help me when I go down [to Pinehurst].
On Monday at Longmeadow, Norfolk’s Andrew O’Leary earned first alternate positioning following his 3-under 167 performance, including an afternoon round 5-under 65 that included nothing worse than par. Walpole’s Benjamin Kelly earned second alternate positioning after carding a 3-over 143 for the day.
In addition to Monday’s qualifier at Longmeadow Country Club, two Bay Staters earned entrance into the U.S. Amateur from Monday’s qualifier in Providence, Rhode Island – a 36-hole qualifier hosted by the Rhode Island Golf Association.
Davis Chatfield, a rising junior on the University of Notre Dame’s men’s golf team, shot a 7-under 133 in 36-holes at Metacomet Country Club to earn medalist honors while Swampscott’s Christian Emmerich, who is slated to play golf for the College of the Holy Cross beginning this fall, combined a 3-under 67 in the afternoon with a morning round of 2-under 68 to finish at 5-under 135. With that mark, Emmerich punched his ticket to his first U.S. Amateur Championship.
Four additional U.S. Amateur qualifiers are being conducted across New England between July 9 and July 15, including one in Massachusetts on Wednesday, July 10 at Andover Country Club, where 72 of the 84 competitors in Massachusetts lists their residency in the Bay State.
Mass Golf will provide coverage of its Massachusetts competitors competing in the 119th U.S. Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from August 12-18. Course No. 2 and Course No. 4 will be the two courses in play for this year’s edition of the U.S. Amateur. Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf, #USAmateur