MANCHESTER — One player finally broke through at the 2013 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship yesterday at Essex County Club, while another just kept re-writing the event’s history.
Ferncroft Country Club’s Paul Lei shot an even-par 70 and finished the three-round tournament with an even-par 210 to capture his first title, edging Country Club of Wilbraham’s Matthew Naumec (212), Blue Hill Country Club’s Jake Shuman (213), and Nashawtuc Country Club’s Jackson Lang (214).
Salem Country Club’s Steven DiLisio, meanwhile, finished fifth overall with a 7-over par 217, but also kept his trophy streak alive at the Mass. Junior by winning the Pre-Junior Division for the second consecutive year. DiLisio has now won his division the last five years, conquering the Boys Division from 2009-2011.
After the trophy presentation, the moment was not lost on the even-keeled Lei.
“What do you have, five of those now?,” Lei asked DiLisio, pointing at his trophy before the pair posed for photos together. “This is my first one.”
Heading up the 17th fairway, DiLisio felt like he might still be in the running for the overall title, but he narrowly missed a birdie putt there and suffered another unfortunate break on the 18th hole. His tee shot strayed into the fescue just off the right side of the fairway, and his approach sailed over the green into more high grass.
While looking for his ball DiLisio inadvertently stepped on it and had to take a penalty, ultimately finishing with a triple bogey.
Lei, meanwhile, made his move on the 15th hole, rolling in a 40-foot birdie putt to gain sole possession of the lead. He finished with three straight pars to close it out.
“This is probably my biggest win,” Lei, a Middleton resident, said. “I’ve been playing this tournament for years and always tried to win, but this is the first time that the dream really came true.”