Kevin Quinto has immersed himself in golf this summer and it has paid big dividends.
The Pittsfield High senior won four of six events in the Berkshire County Summer Junior Series to capture the overall season title. He also took a step up to a higher level of competition and captured the First Flight in the Berkshire Singles at Berkshire Hills Country Club.
"I've definitely come a long way," Quinto said. "I've been practicing every day and I'm getting there. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer."
In addition to practicing daily, Quinto has been working for Berkshire Hills head professional Mike Hillman, so he's been around golf all day long, all summer. He even helped the pro staff with some younger golfers during a two-day junior clinic at the course.
"It was cool to help the kids," said. "I helped them with etiquette and stuff like that and it was really a fun experience."
Fun, but probably not as much fun as seeing his game improve and his ability to produce under pressure go to the next level, as his four wins and two runner-up finishes in the junior series and the win against adults suggest.
"I'm playing smarter," Quinto said in assessing his improvement. "I'm not making as many dumb mistakes and I'm hitting it a little longer."
Growing 2 or 3 inches — he says he's gone from about 5-foot-8 to 5-11 over the past year — and gaining about 10 pounds has helped provide some valuable extra distance.
Quinto has a been a solid player for coach Chris Polidoro's Generals, but six tournaments with scores between 73 and 77 and a 152 total for 36 holes in the Singles is definitely a step above his scores as a junior at PHS.
While the junior series has boosted his confidence, going up against older golfers was a different kind of test and one that he clearly passed.
"It was a lot different playing against adults," Quinto said. "Once I got going, my confidence grew and I knew I could play with them."
The two-shot victory over Brandon Sullivan and Vincent Beraldi was helped by his hitting a hole-in-one on Berkshire Hills' par-3 13th hole in the opening round.
Now, it's on to his senior season with the Generals. With a team that includes three other returning seniors — Justin Martin, Jake Driscoll and Ricky Berrian — Quinto is upbeat about the team's chances to make some noise.
"I think we can win Berkshire County and hopefully qualify for states and Western Mass.," said Quinto. "But I also want to win the [Berkshire] Classic and qualify for states and Western Mass. as an individual."
The Classic is the county's only individual high school tournament and golfers can also earn spots in the Western Mass. tournament based on their match scores.
The junior series gave Quinto a preview of the Pittsfield's potential individual and team challengers. He pointed to Lee and Mount Greylock as two teams to watch. It's easy to see why considering that his toughest competition this summer came from Lee standout Thomas Fraser and Greylock's Kyle Alvarez.
Quinto and Fraser tied in the summer's first tournament with Quinto winning on a match of cards. Quinto then ran off three straight victories before Alvarez shot a 2-over 73 to beat him by three shots at Wahconah Country Club. Then this past Monday, Fraser edged him by one shot with a 74 in the final event of the summer series at Skyline Country Club.
"Thomas is a really good player and Lee should be pretty good," said Fraser, who pointed to Greylock's Alvarez and Ben Gilooly as two players that also make the Mounties a threat.
Quinto, who also plays on Taconic High's co-op hockey team as a center, is also starting to look past high school as he plots his future.
"Hopefully, I can play golf in college," Quinto said. "I've started to look at a few schools."
While Fraser edged Quinto in the 16-and-older division of the Allied Junior Championship, the final event of the junior series, Matthew Shields and Derek Alibozek also earned victories at Skyline.
Shields shot a 91 to win the 13-and-under division and also clinch the junior series overall title in the age division. Alibozek shot an 85 to win Monday's event in the 14-15 division while Connor Champeaux, who was second with a 91, took the season title.
Kathy Duguay, a longtime dominant force on the local golf scene, captured this year's Women's Allied Championship with a round of 82 at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Tuesday.
Duguay, who captured the Women's Golf Association of Massachusetts Senior Championship in 2014, won by two shots over Berkshire Hills member Diane Breen and Worthington Golf Club's Chris Eugin.
Duguay and Kris Herman, who tied for fourth with Wyantenuck Country Club's Jen Race with an 85, led Taconic to a 14-shot victory over Berkshire Hills for the team title, which has become a habit in recent years for the Williamstown club. Taconic had a total of 343 for their top four finishers.
Taconic's Joan Zegras won the net division with a 69.
Tom Mooney made some history last weekend as the Country Club of Pittsfield held its club championships, becoming the first golfer in 90 years to win both the overall men's club championship as well as the senior title.
Mooney beat Adam Kirby in the championship division and outlasted Phil Mamolito and Steve Cella by five shots in the senior division.
In the women's championship, it was business as usual for Sherri Lublin as she captured her 13th club title. She did have to work for it, however, edging out Adeline Ellis by a single shot.
Congratulations to all the winners.
The Berkshires, and Williamstown in particular, recently hosted a pair of Massachusetts Golf Association events. First, Taconic Golf Club was the site of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship and then when the Mass. Amateur Public Links Championship was played at Waubeeka Golf Links.
It was announced this week that Wyantenuck Country Club will host next year's Mass. Super Senior Championship, an event that is a relatively new to the MGA calendar. The third annual Super Senior will be played next month at Cummaquid Golf Club in Yarmouth.
Next year's event, which is for golfers 65 and older, will be played at the Great Barrington club on Sept. 6-7.
Wyantenuck hosted the Mass. Amateur in 2011, earning rave reviews from both the players and MGA officials.
At Waubeeka Golf Links
Sunday, Aug. 14
1. Jeff Puleri, Berkshire Hills CC, 73-70 — 143; 2. Joe Grochmal, Wyantenuck CC, 73-71 — 144; 3. Randy Driscoll, Berkshire Hills CC, 76-71 — 147; 4. Mike Schopp, Wyantenuck CC, 74-74 — 148; 5. Chris Shields, Stockbridge GC, 75-74 — 149; 6. (tie) Jeff Polucci, Taconic GC, 77-74 — 151; Don Dagnoli, 75-76 — 151; 8. Steve Sykes, Berkshire Hills CC, 78-75 — 153; 9. Matt Gilardi, Skyline CC, 77-76 — 153; 10. Mike Delgrande, 76-78 — 154.
ALLIED NET CHAMPIONSHIP
At Wyantenuck CC
1. Sam Whitney, Pontoosuc Lake CC, 63; 2. Frank Dipirro, Wahconah CC, 64; 3. (tie) Leo Ramons, Forest Park CC, 65; Joe Soudant, Egremont CC, 65; Mark Cartier, Cranwell S&GC, 65; Brian Gravel, Waubeeka CC, 5; Al Stalker, Worthington GC, 65; 8. Sam Patel, Cranwell S&GC, 66; 9. (tie) Steve Wood Sr., Pontoosuc Lake CC, 67; Matt Bacon, Wahconah CC, 67; Dick Syriac, Cranwell S&GC, 67; Charlie Bouteiller, Egremont CC, 67.
WOMEN'S ALLIED CHAMPIONSHIP
At Berkshire Hills CC
Tuesday, Aug. 16
1. Kathy Duguay, Taconic GC, 81; 2. (tie) Diane Breen, Berkshire Hills CC, 83; Chris Eugin, Worthington Golf Club, 83; 4. (tie) Jen Race, Wyantenuck CC, 85; Kris Herman, Taconic GC, 85; 6. Trish Kellar, Berkshire Hills CC, 88.
1. Joan Zegras, Taconic GC, 69; 2. (tie) Judy Yvars, CC of Pittsfield, 71; Kiyoko Mills, Berkshire Hills CC, 71; Jane Langer, Greenock CC, 71; Joanne Flynn, Stockbridge GC, 71; 6. Ann Herbst, Stockbridge GC, 74.
(Top four gross scores)
1,. Stockbridge GC, 343; 2. Berkshire Hills CC, 357.
BERKSHIRE COUNTY JUNIOR SERIES
Allied Junior Championship
At Skyline Country Club
Monday, Aug. 15
1. Matthew Shields, Stockbridge GC, 91; 2. Max Digrigoli, CC of Pittsfield, 91; 3. Jordan Bowers, Greenock CC. 101; 4. Patrick McLaughlin, Berkshire Hills CC, 105; 5. Dylan Boomsma, Greenock CC, 110.
Division overall champion: Matthew Shields
1. Derek Alibozek, Forest Park CC, 85; 2. Connor Champeaux, Berkshire Hills CC, 91; 3. Finn Welch, Taconic GC, 97; 3. Henry Sniezek, Forest Park CC, 97; 5. Hayden Grimes, Forest Park CC, 101.
Division overall champion: Connor Champoux.
1. Thomas Fraser, Greenock CC, 74; 2. Kevin Quinto, Berkshire Hills CC, 75; 3. Mike Kays, Berkshire Hills CC, 78; 3. Mike Kays, Berkshire Hills CC, 78; 4. Hunter Roosa, Greenock CC, 79; 5. Ricky Berrian, Pontoosuc Lake CC, 81.
Division overall Champion: Kevin Quinto.
COUNTRY CLUB OF PITTSFIELD
Club championship winners
3 holers: Oliver Kirby; 5 holers: Noah Kirby, 9 Holers: Molly Knight.
Club champion: Sheri Lublin. Runner-up: Adeline Ellis. Net champion: Ellen Krantz; Euston Ames: Sue Coxon. Super Senior: Barbara Myers.
Club champion: Tom Mooney. Runner-up: Adam Kirby. Senior champion: Tom Mooney. Runner- up: Phil Mamolito. Gil Middleton: Michael Moskowitz. Gil Middleton Runner-up: Herb Kantor. Super Senior: James Satovsky. Super Senior Runner-up: Len Rosenfeld; Super Senior Net Winner: Bob George.