PITTSFORD, NY (July 29, 2023) – Marshall Meisel (Wake Forest) chipped in from the right greenside rough on the sixth playoff hole (No. 10) to defeat Anthony Delisanti (Valparaiso) on a rainy Saturday at the 82nd Monroe Invitational. Delisanti forced the playoff by notching birdies on the final two holes, including drilling a 40-foot putt on the 18th to sit as the leader in the clubhouse at -9 with only Meisel’s group left to play 18. Meisel, the 54-hole leader, parred the 72nd hole to set up the epic playoff in which the duo alternated playing between the 18th and 10th holes.
Lance Simpson (Tennessee) notched the low round of the day with a 64 (-6) to move to -7 on the tournament and earn a tie for third place with Peyton Snoeberger (Purdue) and Connor Gaunt (LSU). Simpson ranks 246th according to WAGR, Snoeberger 504th, and Gaunt 379th.
William Duquette (Kansas) took solo sixth place at -6, while Michael Mays (Florida State) and Luke Haskew (LSU) were tied for seventh at -5. The top-ranked player in the field (44th) heading into the tournament, Gustav Frimodt (TCU), was ninth at -4 after a 70 on Saturday.
Meisel, who was the only player in red figures in all four rounds (65, 69, 69, 68), got off to a strong start on Saturday, moving to -10 after nine holes with birdies on two par 4s (2, 7) and one on the par-5 ninth. His first, and only bogey of the round, came on the 363-yard par-4 15th.
Delasanti started the day at -6 and was even par through 12 holes before putting in a birdie at the par-3 13th. He stayed at -7 until the 17th hole, a 407-yard par-4. The Sanborn, NY native was well aware he needed to make a move to get into contention. Said Delisanti, “I knew what he (Meisel) was doing behind me.” “I saw he bogeyed 15 and made pars after that, so I knew I needed to birdie two of the last three. I gave myself a chance.”
The rising junior at Valpariso delivered with consecutive birdies to close out his round to force the playoff.
The playoff began at the 18th hole and alternated to the 10th, each hole being a 426-yard par-4. The first four holes ended in pars, although Meisel’s putts were a bit more difficult being further away after the approach shots. “It was nerve racking at the start,” he said after hoisting the trophy. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to be in a playoff. I heard Anthony made a great putt to get into the playoff. It took me a few holes to settle in, but I made some nice putts on the first and second playoff holes.”
It wasn’t until the 5th playoff hole, No. 18, that the real drama unfolded as the rain poured sideways across the Donald Ross Course. Delisanti put his drive beautifully into the fairway, while Meisel went into the left fairway bunker. Being away, Delisanti delivered a dart into the green to within five feet to put the pressure on Meisel’s sand shot. Meisel answered the bell. “He stuffed it on the fifth playoff hole and I kind of knew I needed to make something happen and I probably hit the best shot of the tournament – a 7-iron from the fairway bunker to about 6 feet and made the putt.”
On the sixth and final playoff hole (No. 10), Delisanti nestled his approach shot to within 30-feet, while Meisel was slightly in front of the pin in the greenside rough on the upslope. With one foot straight in the sand and the other bent on the hill, he chipped one high in the air towards the pin. Said Meisel, “I actually had a great feeling.” “On those shots you can kind of be aggressive with it because it’s gonna go high and not too far past the hole, and I had a good read on it. I hit it – I thought I hit it a little too hard – but it was on a great line and the second hop went right into the hole.”
Delisanti’s putt rolled past the cup, crowning Meisel the champion. “Marshall played great,” said Delisanti. “I gave it everything I had. There’s nothing you can do about the chip in on the last.”
Delesanti, the 396th-ranked player according to WAGR, will be playing in the US Amateur in August after earning a spot from the US Amateur Sectional Qualifier at Seven Oaks Golf Club in Hamilton, NY on July 11. It will be his first USGA event. He now has a second and sixth (2021) place finish to his credit at the Monroe Invitational.
For Meisel, it was a signature win to his resume, one he didn’t yet have in his bag. The 961st-ranked player according to WAGR knows winning the Monroe Invitational against a very strong field will bode well for him in the future. When asked about the win, he said, “It’s number one.” “This is definitely the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. Just the way that I played all the week – the way I handled myself – I was really proud of that. Obviously, the playoff – the chip in to win it – was unbelievable.”
Jake Griffin (Penn State), Davis Cooper (Kansas), Garrett Engle (University of Tennessee Chattanooga), Reece Coleman (Georgia Southern) and Matthew Kress (Florida) each tied for 10th at -3. Engle shot a final round 65 to move up 22 spots. Eight other players finished the tournament under par.