STOCKBRIDGE -- Hoosac Valley’s Chad Alibozek came unraveled for three holes during the Berkshire County Classic at Stockbridge Golf Club on Oct. 14.
Drury’s Alex Boulger had one really bad hole.
Alibozek was able to bounce back and win the tournament, while Boulger wasn’t able to recover. Both golfers were able to use the difficult holes as valuable lessons as they prepare for the Western Massachusetts Division II tournament that will be held at Stockbridge on Monday. The tournament starts with a shotgun start at 10 a.m.
"Don’t give up," Boulger said of what he learned after the Classic. "That’s something that happened very early [at the Classic]. After I hit a 10 on the first par 5, mentally I was just gone.
"That’s one thing I really need to emphasize for Monday, bouncing back. If I don’t bounce back I’m going to shoot another horrible score."
He shot a 97 and finished 23rd in the Classic.
The entire Drury team will be playing in the tournament Monday. Alibozek qualified as an individual and will be the only Hurricane at the tournament. The Berkshire County Classic served as a nice tune-up for the players participating in the Division II tournament. Monument Mountain will also be at the event.
"This course will beat the hell out of you if you’re not playing well and not focused," Alibozek said after winning the Classic. "I kind of got
Alibozek recorded three straight double bogeys on Nos. 12, 13 and 14. A birdie on the 15th saved his round. He won the tournament by three strokes, proving that an 18-hole course provides players with time to recover from a few bad holes. Regular season matches for high school are just nine holes, and don’t give a player as long to recover from a slump.
"18-holes is a whole different mind set," Drury coach Don Dagnoli said. "Things can go wrong and you’re going to have bad holes, it’s just a matter of not taking it too badly when things do go wrong. You have to hang onto your composure."
Playing the course a week before the tournament is also a great way for players to learn from those mistakes. Stockbridge Golf Club isn’t home to a high school team, so golfers don’t get a chance to play in a full tournament or match on the tricky course.
It’s a course that covers 6,234 yards with three par 5s. It also features several holes with sand traps and water hazards -- including the only hole in the U.S. to have the same river on both sides of the fairway.
"In a practice round you’re swinging so free and loose," Alibozek said. "In a tournament when you’re trying to win you see the breaks you’ve never seen before and you can note them. I feel really good knowing that my blow up was in [the Classic]. I knew what I did wrong and I let it get in my head and that’s the last time that will happen."
He’s not the only one who struggled with the par-4 12th. The hole features xx bunkers, and several hazards including a river.
It’s safe to say all the players wanted to win the Classic, but those playing in the Division II tournament were also using it to take notes and improve.
"On the 12th hole, I’m not hitting a driver," Drury’s Matt Lawrence said. "I pulled it almost into the woods and I ended up tripling the hole. I’ll definitely write that one down, I’m not going to make that mistake again."
Freshman Nick Bator also learned a few lessons as he prepares for his first Western Mass. tournament.
"Next time I need to play a little safer on a couple of the holes," he said. "On one hole I just drove the ball right into the hazard, I was aiming pretty much straight at it, but I didn’t think I would drive it that far."