MANCHESTER — Swampscott’s Steven DiLisio had a somewhat frustrating first day at the 2013 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship yesterday at Essex County Club.
Yet he’s still very much in the hunt to keep his title streak alive.
DiLisio, who captured the Mass. Junior Boys Division championship from 2009-2011 and the Pre-Junior title last year, struggled over the final nine holes yesterday but still ended up shooting a 3-over par 73, only five shots off the leaders.
Paul Lei of Middleton and Ferncroft Country Club is tied with Nashawtuc Country Club’s Jackson Lang for the first-round lead, each having shot a 2-under par 68.
Lei and DiLisio are quite comfortable being near the top of the leaderboard at the Mass. Junior Amateur. Lei finished third in the Boys Division in both 2009 and 2010 and tied for 19th overall last year. They were in the same group yesterday (starting on the back nine) and will be again today when they tee off at 12:51 p.m.
DiLisio played well through the first nine holes before slipping a bit, while Lei started slow and got hot on the final nine holes.
“I didn’t feel like I played any different,” DiLisio, a St. John’s Prep sophomore-to-be, said. “I got a tough break when I doubled that par five and didn’t feel like I hit it that far off-line. That was tough because I was looking to make birdie there.
“Holes eight and nine are tough holes to finish on. I wasn’t hitting it quite as well as I would have liked, so finishing on eight and nine is tough, but you just gotta get ready for (today).”
DiLisio was 1-under par through the first eight holes, narrowly missed a birdie put on No. 18 and ended up taking a penalty stroke before the tap-in, when he grounded his putter a few inches behind the ball and it moved slightly. Instead of making the turn at 1-under (or possibly 2-under if his birdie putt had fallen), he headed into the final nine holes at even par.