While high school athletes in team sports are able to get together for a few weeks during the summer to practice and scrimmage against other schools, athletes in individual sports are often left on their own to find a competitive environment to enhance their skills.

St. Dominic Academy senior A.J. Parsi uses the Maine State Golf Association’s Junior Tour each summer to prepare for the fall season. The junior tour season runs from the last week of June through the second week of August. The third week of August is the start of the high school golf season.

Parsi has competed in all five tour events this summer, placing 15th at the opening event on June 28 at Biddeford-Saco with an 84. Two days later, he finished 25th shooting a 95.

The second week of the season he played in three events in three days, finishing fourth on his home course at Martindale with a 79. The following day he finished 18th after carding an 89 at Brunswick Country Club ,and bounced back on July 7 at Fairlawn with an 84, which put him in an eighth-place tie.

“For the summer, I just feel like going out there and getting ready for the high school season,” Parsi said. “I just look at it as rounds to able to get ready for the high school when the season starts and when it starts to actually matter on how I play. Which towards the end of the season is more important than in the beginning. It all builds up to the end of the season for the (high school state championships) and all that.”

He places more emphasis on the high school season, because he likes the team aspect rather than going out in a competition as an individual.

“In the summer I don’t feel a lot of pressure for the (Junior Championship), the big two-day tournament,” Parsi said. “There’s a lot more pressure when it comes to states for school. At that time you have your family, friends, other school members, they are kind of depending on you and your teammates. They all want to do well, you want them to do well. You are always on the course wondering how they are doing. I wouldn’t say I am worrying, but hope everyone does well.”

At St. Dom’s, golf is a big deal. The Saints have won six Class C state team championships since 2007. He was a member of the Saints’ squad that finished runner-up in 2015 to Mattanawcook.

When he’s not competing, he’s getting plenty of practice in at Martindale where he practices and plays three or four times a week.

“I have been working with (head professional) Nick Glicos over at Martindale quite a bit,” Parsi said. “Pretty much I am trying to control my swing, not to get too left-to-right and kind of getting focused on hitting the straight shots that I need. I am not trying to take risks that I shouldn’t really take, keeping the ball in the fairway, just getting it down there, chipping on and two-putting, getting away with par and being happy with it.”

He also likes to play with family and friends to enjoy a nice summer day laughing at both the good and the bad shots.

The big tournament on the MSGA Junior Tour schedule is the Junior Championship, which is being held at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland this Tuesday and Wednesday. Parsi is looking to improve from the 2015 event at Toddy Brook in North Yarmouth, where he finished tied for 34th.

He said the biggest improvement over the past year is that he has matured as a player. He knows he can’t allow a bad hole affect him.

“Last year, I had a pretty decent front nine going and then I hit the back nine and I think it was the second or third hole on the back nine, I didn’t have a good hole. It kind of ruined rest of my round and I didn’t shoot well at the end. I let it bother me the entire way. This year, there’s been times, it’s one hole, I have 17 others to play. I can get through this and put a good round together.”

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