It all started with Marissa Grillo’s dad taking her to the golf range at age 8.
“I gradually played more and more,” Grillo, of Avon, said.
Now from spring to summer, she typically plays five days a week between practices and games with the girls varsity golf team, her own green time at the and individual tournaments.
The practice has paid off. As a sophomore, Grillo set an Avon High School record a few weeks ago when she shot a 35 par against Daniel Hand High School at the Madison Country Club. High school golf teams play nine holes during regular season play.
“It was amazing. It was great to shoot low,” Grillo said.
There was no rhyme or reason to how she achieved her personal best that day, but she hit the balls well and it all came together, she said.
Grillo has been shooting more rounds under 40 this season. She also had a strong freshman season.
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Last year, she qualified for All State as a freshman and subsequently the New England tournament in New Hampshire. Shooting a 79, she had the second best score of any Connecticut golfers there. Grillo was the second player in Avon history to play in the tournament.
“She’s certainly made a name for herself,” her coach, Patrick Welkley. “Marissa’s really had a break out year. She’s one of the best players in state.”
Yet, Grillo is not the type of person to flaunt it, Welkley said, praising her kind character.
“She’s a quiet girl that goes about her business,” Welkley said. “You don’t hear much from her.”
Team spirit is in her nature and she said she loves being able to spend time outside playing a sport she loves with friends. When asked about goals, her thoughts turn first to her team, which is currently 16-0.
But that does not mean she’ll back down. She has personal aspirations to make All State and qualify for the New England tournament again.
“I like the competitiveness of [golf],” Grillo said. “I love how you can improve and always get better. There are no limits.”
Grillo’s strategy all comes down to absolute focus on each shot.
“She really works more on game, really enjoys game,” Welkley said. “It’s nice to see her turn the corner.”