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September 2, 2013

Golf Preview: St. John's Prep is set up for years of strength

The St. John’s Prep golf team is among the best in the state every year. It’s the classic program that reloads instead of rebuilds.

By the time tryouts wrapped up last week, head coach Larry O’Neill had come to the conclusion that the Eagles won’t be needing to reload anytime soon.

Sophomores Steven DiLisio and James Turner, arguably the two best players for St. John’s last year, are back at the top of the lineup.

Adding to that, O’Neill found out he has two new freshmen who will contribute this fall. Chris Francoeur and Mark Turner, James’ brother, opened some eyes in tryouts and earned their spots with the Eagles.

“They’re two good freshmen,” O’Neill said. “With DiLisio and (James) Turner back, we’re going to have four good players for three years.”

Senior captain Jeff O’Connor is also a strong player for St. John’s and will find his place near the top of the lineup. Max Burt, another senior, was in the lineup last year when St. John’s contended for the state championship.

DiLisio made his presence felt early in 2012 and ended the year as the No. 1 player for St. John’s. James Turner, meanwhile, was solid all year and came on strong late in the season. DiLisio finished third in the state individual last year with a 76 and Turner wasn’t far behind, placing sixth with a 78.

St. John’s opens the season Thursday against St. John’s of Shrewsbury at Salem Country Club.

“Our first match is against the defending state champs, so we’ll find out right away,” O’Neill said about his team’s strength. “It goes from there right into a heck of a schedule, but that’s what we want. We want to find out how good we are and be ready for the (state) tournament.”

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