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Berkshire County golf championship held in Stockbridge

By Dick Syriac

STOCKBRIDGE – If you attend a high school sporting event, you can expect to find the usual scene. There will be cheerleaders, coaches screaming and hollering (a.k.a. working the officials), parents selling hot dogs, school personnel selling tickets, maybe a 50-50 raffle, some police presence and lots of noise and enthusiasm.

That is unless the competition is a golf tournament.

Your Beacon scribe was in attendance at  the Stockbridge Golf Club for the 2012 Berkshire High School Individual Championship on Oct. 14, and I’m sure glad I was.

If I was looking for any trash talk, unsportsman-like conduct, taunting, obnoxious parents, terrible officiating or “me first” coaches, I must have taken a wrong turn at The Red Lion Inn.

What I witnessed was a very professionally organized and conducted event that made for a great experience for the young golfers that all those involved should be very proud of.

Participating in a rare 18-hole medal (add them up) tournament, I expected the kids to show signs of nervousness and anxiety. Instead, most of the restlessness came from a few of the coaches.

Pittsfield High Schol Coach Chris Polidoro was asking everyone if they had seen one of his top players, who was not on the grounds shortly before his tee time. Anyone who plays golf  knows it is difficult to get four guys together for a weekend match; try getting 30 kids to a neutral site they have probably never been to.

After a briefing from Marty Salvadore of the MGA and introduction of the players by Assistant Professional Seb Evans of the host club, it was time to “put it in the ground.”

In an event like this, the kids carry their own bag, can’t interact with the fans or coaches and can’t depend on any teammates; it is them against the golf course. It can be a very lonely feeling.

The field was divided and five threesomes went off the first tee, while the last four groups started on hole 13. Did I mention it was well-organized?

The first group consisted of Chad Alibozek of Hoosac Valley, Ryan Grande of PHS and Thomas Villetto of Lenox. If they were experiencing any nerve issues, they did not show it while hitting their opening tee shots.

Villetto hit his drive 252 yards on the 361-yard first hole, and he was away. Grande striped one down the center and could have kicked it on the green. If chicks dig the long ball, these guys should have no problem getting prom dates.

Alibozek went on to make the only par on no. 1 of the group and was not the least bit distracted by the flow of car traffic on the road that passes the
first green. After all, his home course of Forest Park Country Club in Adams has a constant stream of cars and trucks frequenting the road intersecting the nine-hole layout which actually comes very close to three greens.

The slick greens appeared to make for conservative putting. At Stockbridge, there are some scary places where you simply don’t want to be with a putter in hand. Grande learned this on the 169-yard second hole when he stuffed an iron shot to about 12 feet on his tee shot.

He was in shock when his first attempt ended up 15 feet by the hole. His playing partners also made note; it was going to be an interesting day. After two holes, Grande had hit the two best shots in the group and was two over par.

Alibozek showed great recovery skill when his tee shot on no. 3 was long and right with a tree older than Adams High School in his line to the green. From a wet and hairy lie, he lofted an iron to the green which not only flew the tree but also carried a green side bunker to land softly on the green for his third “ho hum” par in a row.

Villetto hit an approach shot on no. 9 which should have won him a Buick. From the right rough (with many trees in his way), he floated an iron from 180 yards to the difficult elevated green to about 10 feet. His birdie putt looked in the hole on its way by, but did not fall.

While walking to the 10th tee, the gallery noticed a ball on the nearby fifth green resting about six inches from the hole. The ball was launched 106 yards and six inches by Lee frosh Devyn Olds, and as he was crossing the suspension bridge, he was trying to make himself taller to see how close it was. Give that kid an Olds when he is old enough to drive it.

Some of the kids were there to win the event, others were there for valuable experience and others to have fun. Some of the underclassmen will be heard from next season and maybe in the upcoming Western Massachusetts Tournament. Stockbridge, for some, was a learning experience.

St. Joseph High School was represented by junior Danielle Lapierre and represented well. As the lone female in the field, she grinded her way around the course and made some impressive shots.

On the ninth hole, she probably wished she went out for soccer. After a nice drive, her approach shot nicked a branch and plugged under the lip of the front bunker. David Ortiz could not get the ball out of that predicament
without landing on the DL.

Danielle wisely elected to take a penalty stroke and dropped it back in the sand trap. Then she moved some loose impediments and was assessed another penalty.

The smile never left her face as she completed her “Murphy’s Law” hole and moved on to the difficult 10th hole. She demonstrated some bounce back skills of her own at 10, when she got up and down from 70 yards for an impressive par after running in a 12-foot putt.

Alibozek shot 78 for his third Berkshire Classic trophy. The freshman Olds had 81.

The coaches, players, schools, Berkshire County and Stockbridge Golf Club should be commended for the show they put on. Let’s hope the experience and fine play carries over to the western Massachusetts competition.

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Posted by on October 25, 2012. Filed under Berkshire Sports Guy,Columns,Opinion,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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