Before Sophie DiPetrillo even teed up her first shot at the Golfweek New England Junior Invitational, she saw a mathematical progression. The tournament at Marshfield (Mass.) Country Club marked DiPetrillo’s third try at this event, and the first two had resulted in a third- and second-place finish, respectively.
It was DiPetrillo’s year to win.
“I was talking to my coach Saturday and I’m like, ‘I’ve come in third, second, this year I have to come in first,’” said DiPetrillo, a 17-year-old from Dover, Mass. “I had confidence.”
DiPetrillo posted 5-over 76 on Aug. 4 in the opening round at Marshfield and took a one-shot lead into the final round. The tournament came down to a 3-footer for par at the 18th green that gave her a second-round 78 and the victory, at last. DiPetrillo, at 12-over 154 for the tournament, was one shot ahead of Helen Dailey of Wellesley, Mass., and two ahead of Skylar Frankiewicz of Concord, Mass.
This year’s event was nearly a home game for DiPetrillo, who lives only an hour away from Marshfield. Per usual for the golf-savvy family, the cheering section was large. DiPetrillo’s fraternal twin Chloe DiPetrillo tied for fourth among the girls and her cousin Frankiewicz was third. Little brother Andrew DiPetrillo tied for ninth in the boys division.
It was Chloe, actually, who unintentionally confirmed that Sophie needed to make that final par putt to secure the win. Sophie had thought it was the case until she overheard Chloe say it near the green. After that, Sophie’s hands began to shake. When the ball went in the hole, it was like a huge weight lifted off her shoulders to finally win this event.
That’s typical DiPetrillo style. The girls constantly root for Andrew in the boys division, and the rest of the family roots for whoever happens to be playing best that week among the girls.
“We always do it, and it’s so much fun because if you’re not having one of your best tournaments, you get to cheer from someone else and hope that they win it,” Sophie said.
The New England Junior is DiPetrillo’s first tournament in Massachusetts this summer, and came at the end of a busy competition schedule. Since July, she has played the AJGA Ravenwood Junior (T-14), the AJGA Annapolis Junior (T-8), the Callaway Junior World Championship (T-48) then the U.S. Girls’ Junior for the first time. The high altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz., site of the latter tournament, gave DiPetrillo nose bleeds and nausea, and resulted in a missed cut.
DiPetrillo is recognizable these days because of her signature pink hat. She’s worn it each of the three times she’s played the Golfweek New England Junior. DiPetrillo used to hate wearing hats to play golf, but this one, purchased three years ago, not only fit, but brought a victory the first time she wore it.
“This must have been a lucky hat,” she said.
• • •
In the boys division, Brent Ito improved his playoff record with a victory over Alex Jamieson on the second hole of sudden death. Ito, of Ardsley, N.Y., outlasted Jamieson, of Duxbury, Mass., with a pair of pars during extra holes as Jamieson fell when he followed a par with a bogey.
“I felt confident going into this tournament and I felt confident going into the playoff, as well,” said Ito, 15.
Ito had to make up ground in Round 2. He opened with a 3-over 73 and found himself in a tie for fifth, two shots off the lead. In the final round, he came back with a 71 that included birdies at Nos. 7, 10 and 13. Those birdies, Ito explains, were set up by great iron shots.
“Usually when I play well, my irons are sharp and I’m hitting fairways,” said Ito, who noted that he hit most of the fairways on Day 2.
Jamieson, meanwhile, was steady with back-to-back rounds of 72. He ended the day with two bogeys to fall into the playoff.
The New England Junior is among Ito’s biggest wins, and signals growth in his game.
“I think it’s mostly the work over the winter I did that has helped me stay more consistent,” Ito said.
For such a dedicated golfer, the season never really stops.