Delisanti defeats Lee in playoff for 2024 Northeast Amateur title

New York State native birdies Wannamoisett's famed par 3 third hole on third attempt

By Mike Rego
Posted 6/24/24

EAST PROVIDENCE — Some rain...well a deluge...and some extra holes...this time only five...would not deter Anthony Delisanti in pursuit of his biggest title to date as the New York State native …

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Delisanti defeats Lee in playoff for 2024 Northeast Amateur title

New York State native birdies Wannamoisett's famed par 3 third hole on third attempt


EAST PROVIDENCE — Some rain...well a deluge...and some extra holes...this time only five...would not deter Anthony Delisanti in pursuit of his biggest title to date as the New York State native captured the 62nd playing of the Northeast Amateur Invitational by defeating Bryan Lee on the fifth playoff hole Saturday night, June 22, at Wannamoisett Country Club.

His birdie from about eight feet on the short par 3 third on the third time he and Lee played Wannamoisett's signature hole decided the playoff, which began as a three-hole aggregate then morphed into sudden death upon the two remaining tied.

"It feels great. It was a big sigh of relief to see the last one go in," Delisanti, of Sanborn, NY, said of his tournament-clinching putt. Sanborn is in far Western New York, near Niagara Falls and Buffalo close to the Canadian border.

He added later, "Bryan played great. He put a lot of pressure on me...It was a lot of fun."

Delisanti's victory in extras was the first at the Northeast since 2012 when Justin Shin defeated Jordan Russell also in a three-hole aggregate playoff.

The wait for the win was prolonged due to a flash thunderstorm that struck the area just as the pair finished the aggregate portion of the playoff all square at even par. And after Rhode Island Golf Association Executive Director Bob Ward initially suggested, then later flat out pulled the players off the course.

(The RIGA officiates the Northeast in conjunction with the Wannamoisett membership.)

Delisanti parred the first hole while Lee three putted for bogey. They exchanged roles at the par 5 second, the former three putting from above the flag with the latter making par.

On their first go-round at the famed 130-yard third, Delisanti made a difficult par after sending his tee shot about 40 feet by the cup. Lee, as he did twice during regulation, couldn't make a putt to win, this time missing from some eight feet to the left of the tucked right-side flag.

It was at that point the weather changed dramatically and Ward cautioned the players about continuing to play. After a brief confab with the pair and tournament director Ben Tuthill, the decision was made to keep going, though the skies opened up just then.

Undaunted, the two sauntered back to the tee where they again sort of exchanged roles. Lee completed a difficult two-putt par while Delisanti missed a short, though testing putt for birdie from above the hole.

With electricity now clearly visible in the skies above the famed Rumford layout, Ward and Tuthill did not give the players the option to remain on the course. They went inside for about 50 minutes before returning to the third hole where this time Delisanti drained the winning birdie put.

For Delisanti, a senior to be at Valparaiso University in Indiana, it was his fifth victory of significance over the last two years, but by far the biggest considering the field and tradition of the Northeast.

He won college golf's version of its basketball counterparts National Invitational Tournament, the Golfweek National Golf Invitational, in late May in Arizona. Last spring, he won the Missouri Valley Conference individual championship. He won three times in 2022: the Zach Johnson Invitational, the Valpo Fall Invitational and the 99th playing of the Buffalo (NY) District Golf Association Men's Individual Championship.

Delisanti, however, made a direct comparison to last summer's Monroe Invitational in Pittsford, NY, where he lost to Marshall Meisel, also in this year's Northeast field, for the title after a lengthy six-hole playoff and with an interruption due to rain.

"It's pretty crazy. It feels like deja vu. Last year's Monroe was almost the exact same scenario. It was a six-hole playoff up there in the pouring rain, so I was just kinda of perfectly prepared for it," Delisanti said.

Final round wrap
Delisanti rocketed up the leaderboard during the final 18 holes of 72, jumping up 10 spots into first at 11-under with a nifty "sandy" birdie out of the trap on the par 5 17th. He hit his second shot into a green-side bunker, flopped his third to about four feet, then sank the put to take the lead. 

His 7-under 62 during the final round was the low 18 of the tourney.

After parring the par 4 18th, Delisanti then waited for about 45 minutes for the final groups to come home, including that of Lee.

The Virginia native and also a senior to be for his home state Hoos was paired in the last group with 54-hole leader Hunter Thomson and another of the contenders Zac Jones of Utah via Brigham Young University.

Thomson actually held the lead through 63 holes, making the turn ahead by a stroke. But the Canadian and University of Michigan standout faltered early on his final nine. He doubled the tough, uphill par 3 12th, sending his tee ball into the cavernous front bunker. He later bogeyed the short dog-leg right par 4 14th to fall out of contention. He ended up in a tie for fifth at 9-under.

All the while, both Lee and Jones were keeping pace. The former actually got to 11-under with back-to-back birdies on the same dog-leg 14th and the other par 3 on the back, the similarly uphill 15th.

Lee and Jones, then at 11- and 10-under, respectively, came to the very reachable par 5, 558-yard 17th with the chance to take the lead or tie, though they disappointingly did neither.

Jones literally drove himself from contention by hooking his tee shot onto the parallel Pawtucket Avenue. He would go on to bogey.

Lee hit drive about 290 yards in the fairway, but fanned his approached in the same frontside bunker as Delisanti did earlier. He had a more difficult angle and was unable to keep his third close to the pin. His 20 footer for birdie dropped low side of the cup and he settled for par.

Lee again left his approach on 18 wanting, leaving it well below right of the back left flag. His birdie putt did sniff the cup, but he settled for a two-putt par to set up the playoff with Delisanti.

Jones stuck his approach to about two feet, getting the stroke he lost on 17th back and to finish in a share of third with Cameron Tankersley of Tennessee via the University of Mississippi.

Notable results
The top player on the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Gordon Sargent, never really felt like he was in contention last week, though the Vanderbilt University junior did post a solid 8-under total to finish in a share of ninth place.

The aforementioned Meisel, of Wake Forest University, was one shot behind alone in 11th. Blades Brown, one of the two young sensations in the field along with Miles Russell, finished T15. Both the 17-year-old and National Hockey League referee Garrett Rank finished at 5-under. Russell, the 15-year-old who earlier this year became the youngest player ever to make a cut in a PGA Tour sanctioned event on the Korn Ferry Tour, finished in a large group at 4-over, T49

Decorated mid-am Stewart Hagestad finished at 3-over, T43. The Ford twins, Maxwell and David, now both formerly of the University of North Carolina, had distinctly different weeks. Maxwell shared 19th place at 4-under while David, eighth according to the WAGR, missed the cut at 8-over.

Another of the top competitors according to the WAGR, Vandy's Jackson Van Paris at No. 10, was in the same T15, 5-under grouping as Rank and Brown.

Joseph Sprague Sr. Award
Rank was presented with the annual Joseph Sprague Sr. Award as the event's low mid-amateur (a player 25-year-of-age or older).

The award is named after the elder Sprague the former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Golf Association, revered East Providence native and life-long resident.

A superb player in his own right, he was a State Amateur finalist in 1963 and was a seven-time club champion during his some 50 years as a member at Wannamoisett.

Sprague Sr. is known to many for his career as a teacher and later principal at East Providence High School where he also enjoyed great success as a coach of the Townies' hockey, golf and cross country programs.

Local notes
The three Rhode Islanders in the field did not make the 54-hole cut, which fell at 5-over par, 212. Four-time state amateur champ and Wannamoisett member Bobby Leopold came closest, finishing ay 7-over. Barrington native Harry Dessel, heading into his junior year at Lafayette University, would up at 14-over. And another Wannamoisett member Tyler Cooke was 19-over.

More tourney notes
The highlight of Thomson's week eventually was his opening round hole-in-one on the signature short par 3 running along Hoyt Avenue. He added two more birds on the par 4 seventh and another on the par 3 eighth to finish with a 6-under, 63 to take the Day 1 lead.

He followed up with a 4-under, 65 during Round 2 to become the first player to reach double figures at 10-under to lead Delisanti and Australia's Josiah Gilbert by four shots. Gilbert eventually finished the event at 6-under, T12.

Thomson meandered to a 1-over 70 in the third round to see his lead shrink to one at 9-under as for the first time rain interrupted the proceedings during the week which featured sweltering temps in the low to mid 90s. Lee was at 8-under while Jones and Sargent were two back at 7-under.

Ben Warian of Oklahoma State, the winner of the Sunnehanna Invitational outside of Pittsburgh the week prior, the first event in the summer-long Elite Amateur Series of which the Northeast is also a part, was among those who missed the cut. He finished one off the 54-hole number at 6-over.

Up next
Most of the players at the Northeast now head to the next Elite Amateur Series event at another renowned venue, Pinehurst in North Carolina, to vie in the 2024 North & South Men's and Women's Championships, June 25-29.

Players will compete on the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club's Course No. 2, which just hosted the United States Men's Open Championship, as well as the highly-regarded No. 8.

2024 by East Bay Media Group

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Meet our staff

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email