After enjoying what coach Larry O’Neill described as “the greatest freshman-sophomore seasons in St. John’s Prep golf history,” Steven DiLisio is transferring to Phillips Exeter Academy for his final two years of high school.
“Phillips Exeter is an opportunity I cannot pass up,” DiLisio explained only days after he had been medalist at the Massachusetts Open qualifying round at Turner Hill with an even-par 72. That made him probably the youngest Mass. Open qualifying medalist in tournament history.
“My brother Anthony had an excellent post-grad experience there before attending Skidmore. This is the right time for me to have a boarding experience, yet not be far from home. And, like the Prep, it is a top academic preparation for college.”
And the golf? “It will be fun, but it’s obviously not the main reason I’m transferring,” DiLisio, a third generation member of a prominent Salem Country Club family who turned 16 in January, said.
DiLisio’s decision surely brought a smile to the face of Phillips Exeter golf coach Bob Bailey, who already has a potential college blue chipper in Middleton resident/Ferncroft member Paul Lei, winner of the 2013 Massachusetts Junior at Essex County Club. Senior-to-be Lei and DiLisio will team up for just one season, giving Bailey likely the best 1-2 punch in New England prep school golf.
DiLisio, an ‘A’ student at St. John’s, will be in the enviable position of deciding between an Ivy League education and a Division 1 golf school education. He has already visited unofficially Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina, and he will play golf wherever he goes.
But first he would like to break through at the Massachusetts Junior, slated this year for Nashawtuc in Concord July 28-30. He has won a record five age-division titles in as many years, but his primary goal is to succeed Lei as the overall champion.