Lenox's Max DiGrigoli staying busy on the golf course this summer
The Summer of COVID-19 has certainly been interesting for Max DiGrigoli. But for the rising Lenox junior, it hasn't been a wasted season.
DiGrigoli, a golfer and alpine skier at Lenox who resides in Lee, has been busy on the links since school has let out, and DiGrigoli's travels have put him into some pretty solid competitions.
Since the end of June, DiGrigoli has been competing in Northeastern New York PGA Junior Golf Tournaments in the 16-18 age category, and the Massachusetts native has shown his chops in the Capital District of New York.
In six tournaments so far this summer, DiGrigoli has placed third once, fifth in two other events, and added an eighth- and 10th-place finish.
Not bad for someone still getting comfortable with increased competition.
"It's definitely a lot different. There's a lot of competition out there, the talent pool is definitely a lot bigger than Berkshire County," DiGrigoli said. "It's kind of cool, just because it's a different feeling. You kind of feel like an underdog, coming from a smaller town and everyone over there kind of knows everybody, and then you show up and don't really know anybody.
"So you show up there, and are hitting the ball and trying your best. You have no expectations."
DiGrigoli's best outing came on July 17 at Wolferts Roost Country Club, where he came in third in a field of 20. He shot an eight-over-par 78 on the day, just three strokes behind winner AJ Cavotta.
"That course had a lot of out of bounds on it, so I was really able, with my driver, I was really able to maintain and keep the ball only going to the right side of the golf course," DiGrigoli said. "So I took the left side right out of play, and I was able to just keep myself away from half of the trouble."
DiGrigoli's fifth-place finishes came on July 8-9 at the Summer Major No. 2 event, and on Wednesday at the JGT Summer Classic No. 9. On Wednesday, DiGrigoli went to Albany Country Club and shot a nine-over 81. He was well off the pace of Cavotta and Paul Goetz in second and first, respectively, but was just three shots behind third-place finisher Ben Heidbreder.
But regardless of which course DiGrigoli has gone to, he said that the NENY events have opened up his eyes to what he is capable of.
"Generally, I think that it's taught me that when I go out and play golf, I can't [put] expectations of myself," he said. "All I can do is go out there, and know that I'm a good golfer, and that I can hit the ball well.
"I need to just go out and do that, I can't do anything about how well anyone else plays. I just have to go out there and hit the ball as well as I can."
In his travels to New York, DiGrigoli has also had several of his Lenox teammates compete in other divisions. That turned the discussion to the potential — hopeful — MIAA golf season in the fall. Lenox is coming off a second-place finish in the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament, and has a legit chance at winning the whole thing if the season happens.
DiGrigoli wants to play, but showed off some solid wisdom for a high-schooler.
"I think in the end, as much as we all want to play high school golf, the MIAA has to make the decision that's best for everybody and their safety," he said. "I think even if there is a situation where we can't really play high school golf on a competitive level, at the end of the day, we are all still friends and we can all still go out and play golf.
"At the end of the day, we'll still probably do that. But I think it will be really terrible if we can't play golf."
DiGrigoli's summer isn't over, however. Before he can think about donning the Lenox Maroon this fall, he has another NENY event — and a potential Sectional Championship, if he qualifies — to go along with the Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship at Cranberry Valley Golf Course from Aug. 3-6. DiGrigoli is also going to play in an American Junior Golf Association event in Maine at the end of August.
With all of those tournaments on the horizon, the thought that DiGrigoli was lucky, in a sense, to play so much was not lost on him.
"I feel so fortunate to have golf be a thing that I love and enjoy, and be able to do it right now," he said, before noting how even members of his own household haven't been able to get out and be active. "My summer has been much, much different than most people's. My summer schedule didn't really change that much."
And as DiGrigoli's game continues to grow, that busy schedule will play a huge role in his growth as a golfer.
Geoff Smith can be reached at email@example.com, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter, and 413-496-6254.
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