Ferullo wins elusive Seacoast Am championship; Delano is second
STRATHAM – Jamie Ferullo followed some of his own advice during the final round of the 43rd annual Seacoast Amateur Golf Championship and it couldn’t have worked out better.
As head coach of the Spaulding High School hockey team he often tells his players “Don’t be scared to succeed.”
After years of frustration, the Rochester native’s will to win was evident Sunday as he closed out his first coveted but elusive Seacoast Am title at The Golf Club of New England with a 4-stroke victory over runner-up Will Delano of York Golf & Tennis Club.
“I put myself in so many good opportunities before and haven’t been able to get it done,” Ferullo said. “It’s a big relief right now to say the least.”
In contrast he was being chased by a player who emerged victorious in his first Seacoast Am appearance in 2010. Ferullo began the day with a 5-shot lead over Delano and seven ahead of Portsmouth CC’s Craig Steckowych who were playing in the final group.
“I think it’s great,” said Steckowych, a three-time Seacoast Am champ. “He’s been chasing it for a while. He played solid today. Good for him. Well-deserved. He earned it.”
Ferullo finished 1-under par for the tournament and Delano was 3-over. Ferullo had a three-day total of 213 with Delano at 217 and Connor Allard at 219, good for third place. Allard posted the low round of the day, a 2-under-par 70.
“I’ve been in the final couple groups in the last 10 years and the support today was the most I think I’ve ever seen,” Ferullo said. “It’s emotional. I’m very proud.”
Steckowych was fourth at 220 followed by Scott Rolph of Pease Golf Course in fifth (224), Portsmouth CC’s Mike Mahan in sixth (225), Peter Lown of Pease in seventh (227), Dover’s Brett Wilson eighth (228) and Rochester CC’s Kevin Strong ninth (229).
Bradd Pearsons of The Golf Club of New England (230) and Nick McLaughlin of Wentworth By The Sea (230) tied for 10th. First-round leader Harvin Groft had to withdraw because of an injury he sustained during Saturday’s second round at Dover’s Cochecho Country Club.
As usual, Lou Ferullo, Jamie’s dad, caddie and confidant, was on the bag.
“I am so proud of him,” Lou said. “It’s not easy to win a golf tournament. To watch him grow and to finally be able to put together three rounds and act the way he acted was amazing. The feeling I have right now is like no other.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” Jamie said. “My dad and I have a good time out there. My brother (Kory) and I learned our mental toughness from him. It’s a great thing he taught us about learning how to win and how to deal with adversity.”
Although he doesn’t try to tell Jamie how to play the game Lou does lend moral support when necessary.
“He got high and low today but never down,” Lou said. “He never got mad. He took what happened in stride and went and hit the next shot. That’s what I was able to help him do.”
Delano never got closer than three shots throughout Sunday’s final round, but Ferullo couldn’t completely shake him either.
“At the end of the day it definitely helps with someone pushing you,” Ferullo said. “You’ve got no choice but to man-up and execute the shots.”
“It’s always tough when you have a 5-stroke deficit going into today,” Delano said. “I wish I narrowed it a bit more.”
Delano’s role was reversed when he won the Seacoast Am in 2010 and took a 5-shot lead into the third round. He ended up winning by one.
“I tried to put myself in his shoes and know that I’d be worried about making a really big number,” he said. “But he had such a big lead.”
Delano remained undeterred even after Ferullo played the first three holes in 3-under thanks to a birdie on No. 1 and an eagle at No. 3 that left his closest pursuer at the start of the round eight shots back.
“I was just trying to not make any mistakes,” Delano said. “Normally down the stretch people feel the pressure and give some shots away but Jamie played great. He never really relinquished that lead.”
Delano did, however, chip away with three straight birdies during one stretch on the front and even pulled to within three early on the back nine. Even though Ferullo played the last five holes in 4-over he had a big enough cushion to hold off Delano who bogeyed the final two holes.
“I’m exhausted,” Ferullo said shortly before the trophy presentation. “It’s a grind. Coming down the stretch here there’s some very difficult golf holes.”
“This is a golf course that can absolutely sneak up on you where you could have a 5-shot lead with the last two holes to play and you could lose,” Steckowych said.
Portsmouth Country Club’s Tony Fournier won the Tony Loch Senior Division with a three-day total of 234, four better than clubmate Bill Leonard (238).
John Mumford of The Golf Club of New England finished third at 239.