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Saugus graduate Nick Delio: The strong, silent type

Saugus grad Delio is fine with flying under the radar at CSUN

Posted: June 1, 2010 1:48 a.m.
Updated: June 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Saugus High graduate and Cal State Northridge golfer Nick Delio will be competing in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, which begin today in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But don’t expect the reserved Delio to brag about it.

Cal State Northridge is one of the rare NCAA Division I universities in the country where athletes don’t stick out in class.

They’re hardly noticed by big media outlets, despite the school being within the reaches of some of the biggest media outlets in the country.

Classmates would hardly know about Nick Delio.

He has always been, from the time he was in high school at Saugus to now, one of the best athletes at his school.
But he has always been humble and not attracted to the limelight.

“That’s fine with me. I’m OK with that,” Delio says. “I don’t boast or anything. I just feel like everyone else.”

Yet here he is, now a junior golfer at Cal State Northridge, with the opportunity to become the NCAA Division I champion.
Delio and Cal freshman and Valencia High graduate Max Homa are both competing, beginning today, in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Homa made it by way of his team qualifying.

Delio didn’t have that luxury, so he went out on May 22 at Carlton Oaks Golf Club in Santee and bested every single golfer at the NCAA Southwest Regional, earning the only automatic individual bid to the NCAA Championships.

The 20-year-old shot a 54-hole total of 213, which was 3-under for the tournament.

“That course was really difficult. Only four guys broke par out of 75,” Delio says. “It just shows you how hard it was.”

Delio’s three rounds were 71-69-73.

“It was great for the valley getting recognition, but great for him because I know how hard he works,” Homa says. “I saw him after the last round and told him, ‘Great job.’ It’s not a surprise, at least to me, that he won something like this. It was just a matter of time.”

Delio is used to flying under the radar with his quiet nature, but he won’t this week.

That’s OK, because his confidence and mental game have grown since he graduated from Saugus in 2007.

In 2007-08, he was the Big West Conference’s Freshman of the Year. The next season, he was First Team All-Big West for the second season in a row.

After three years, he owns the school’s lowest stroke average.

“He has dominated,” says CSUN head golf coach Jim Bracken. “He is our record-holder in just about everything at CSUN — first player to ever win a regional, first player to make it to a Division I national championship.”

Since he was a freshman at Saugus High, Delio has consistently been competing for individual and collegiate titles.

After four seasons at Saugus, he walked away as the school’s most successful golfer.

“I’ve known for a little while that I’ve had the capabilities, but a lot of things have had to line up for (me to have this success),” Delio says.

If things line up this week, Bracken says there’s no reason that Delio can’t compete for a title.

Delio will have a busy summer after the NCAA Championships, as he has a lineup of amateur tournaments. He will also try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Open, beginning Aug. 23 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in Washington.

Delio says he also has his sights set on PGA Tour Qualification Tournaments this year.

Bracken believes he can reach the PGA Tour one day.

He compares Delio with Bob Burns, who in 1990 won the NCAA Division II championship at CSUN.

Burns, who has lived in Santa Clarita, has played on the PGA and Nationwide Tours since 1994.

“Nick’s as good a ball-striker,” says the 24-year CSUN head coach. “Those are the two best ball-strikers I’ve ever had. They just always made good contact. Nick hits a lot of greens in regulation. His putting is improving. Once he becomes a more consistent putter, the sky’s the limit.”


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