Chad Alibozek said he is feeling good about his game and looking forward to defending his Berkshire Classic golf title.
Alibozek, and 27 other top high school golfers from the Berkshire County League will gather at the Stockbridge Golf Club Sunday morning to play 18 holes of golf in the fourth annual Berkshire Classic.
"My iron and wedge games are strong and that's what you need at Stockbridge," Alibozek said. "If I play my game at Stockbridge, I'll be in contention every time."
Alibozek, a Hoosac Valley senior, and the other top golfers return to Stockbridge after a one-year hiatus. Last year's tournament was played at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield because of flooding at Stockbridge. The first two Classics were also held at Stockbridge.
"The management [at Stockbridge] and the Board of Directors have been extremely supportive of the event," said Pittsfield athletic director Jim Abel, who is the Berkshire County AD who supervises the sport. "It's neutral for all the teams as well."
Still to be determined is whether the tournament will use a shotgun start when the first players tee off at 11:30 a.m. That will be decided by the weekend.
No Berkshire County golf team uses Stockbridge as a home course, but the course is not completely unfamiliar. Alibozek is 1-1 in Classics there and has played other matches there.
Thomas Villetto of Lenox has also played Stockbridge. He said his game
"I played a practice round there and played great. I have a lot of confidence going in," said Lenox's No. 1 golfer. "I feel if I go out there and play my game, I have an extremely good chance of winning."
Playing last year at Berkshire Hills, Alibozek shot a 75, beating Hayden Jarck of Pittsfield by one stroke and Bryan Levardi of Taconic by two. Villetto shot an 84 last year in Pittsfield, and has the No. 2 score behind Alibozek of all the returning golfers.
St. Joseph's golfer Danielle Lapierre, who finished second in last week's Western Mass. girls tournament, will be the only female competitor. She shot a 79 on the par-72 Southampton Country Club layout and finished four strokes behind Lisa Calcasola of Longmeadow.
Lapierre said she's excited to compete against the best, and her confidence level is up after having played 18 holes in that tournament.
"It'll be exciting, because you'll get to see everything," she said. "I'm not always in the first group, so I can't see everyone play. I can see how everyone plays for 18 holes, and I can see the different people and their different games."
Lenox coach Dick Salinetti is a long-time member at Stockbridge, and probably knows the 6,567-yard, par-71 course as well as anyone. He called Stockbridge a challenge.
This tournament will also be Stockbridge's 2012 high school season debut. Alibozek and the rest of the Division II field will descend on the Golf Club on Oct. 22 for the Western Massachusetts championships.
"They're looking forward to [Sunday] and to Western Mass.," Drury coach Don Dagnoli said of his team, adding that it will help the Berkshire County teams in the Division II field to have had some players get an extra 18 holes in at Stockbridge.
"It's a very fair golf course," said Dagnoli. "You have to have all the components of the game to play it."
Alibozek said he believes his game fits the course. He said that golfers who hit a lot of long irons off the tee is what one needs to win at Stockbridge.
The defending champion also said that this round at Stockbridge could be very important for him. Last year's trip to the Division II tournament at Franconia in Springfield did not go as well as he would have liked.
"If I can go out Sunday and if I can play a nice, steady round," Alibozek said, "I'll be really excited going into Western Mass."