Capitalizing on little moments in big spots separate golf players from a good year and a great year. The final hole of the PIAA Class AAA tournament is what sealed Isabella DiLisio's sensational junior year.
It also is a big reason she was named The Reporter's Golf Athlete of the Year.
The Hatfield resident was sporting her purple proudly as the Mount Saint Joseph student had a stare down with the decisive cup, which stood 25 feet between her and state championship. With a third and fourth place finish at states already under her belt, DiLisio realized her dream by sinking the long putt at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, winning the PIAA championship.
"I was one down going into the last hole and I knew I had to make birdie or eagle in order to have a chance to win,' said DiLisio in The Reporter after the tournament. "I was just trying to play it one shot at a time and keep focused.'
DiLisio showed her resiliency during the final scholastic golf tournament of the year. She overcame three consecutive bogeys to hold off favorite to win and back-to-back champ Erica Herr of Council Rock North by a stroke. This came all after what she considered a down year at the District One tournament, when DiLisio finished fifth overall. While her 152 score would be great day on the course for most, it did not come to close to the round of 137 she shot as a sophomore at Turtle Creek Golf Course in Limerick. Though DiLisio did battle illness during districts and all that mattered was she qualified for another crack at the state title.
DiLisio also player her part in a helping the Magic win an 11th straight Catholic Academies championship and ultimately the PIAA Class AAA team title. Along with play of captain Alison Snakard, the girls collectively completed one great season under first-year coach Michael Brown. It was a comfortable win over District Seven champs out of Penn Trafford, 44 strokes ahead of the second place finishers "Our team was very deep and very consistent,' said Michael Brown after the state tournament. "They also just have a lot of grit and with cold conditions and a tough course they showed their perseverance.'
The Hatfield resident DiLisio will have her chance at back-to-back individual titles next season in her senior year. She has plenty of colleges knocking at her door to play golf for their university, but first she would like to help her Mount repeat as a group. She is currently ranked the 19th junior in the country and the 45th in the world. "It's really nice, it's a good win,' said Dilisio after her state title clinching shot. "You are playing for your school too, so it's a win for you and it's a win for your school.'
Follow Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.