When Danny Pizetoski steps onto a golf course, he usually feels like he is one of the best around.
But this season, the North Mecklenburg senior wants to prove he is the best in the I-Meck Conference and even the state.
"I want to be the Player of the Year, not the co-Player of the Year," said Pizetoski, who shared the honor the last two seasons with Hopewell's Logan Harrell, now at South Carolina. "My ultimate goal is to win states."
Pizetoski was close last season, when he was not only one of the two best golfers in the conference, but also finished fourth at the state meet at Pinehurst No. 8, shooting a two-day total of 146.
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Pizetoski followed that up with a strong summer on the Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA) tour, where he earned first-team all-state honors recently for his efforts. Pizetoski is also No. 5 in the state in his class, according to golfweek.com
But while all of those accomplishments and numbers sound great, Pizetoski is not yet satisfied and instead focuses on getting better every day.
The 17-year-old consistently works on his game four to five hours a day, six to seven days a week both with his coach, River Run Country Club's David Ross, and with North Meck's Mark Clarke and his Viking teammates.
"I'd like to get a lot more consistent with my game," said Pizetoski, who spends at least 30 hours a week working on his game. "You can never practice enough and you can never stop getting better."
Pizetoski identified his golfing talents early on, as his father, John, put a golf club in his hands at age 2. Danny was regularly playing with his dad and his older brother, Joey, at an early age.
While he was trying to beat John and Joey, he had his first and only hole-in-one at age 10 at Regent Park in South Carolina. He also shot a personal-best 65 at Mid Pines in the Big I Junior Tournament.
While Danny has cemented his place as the best golfer in the family, he also hopes to prove he can be a standout in college and beyond. Danny committed to the University of Richmond earlier this school year.
"I'm really excited about going to Richmond," said Pizetoski. "I've spent some time with the team and coaches. I think it is definitely a place I go and take my game to the next level."
Pizetoski also has professional golf aspirations, something he hopes will begin to take shape in the next several years. But he knows he has a long way to go.
"I've always dreamed of being a professional golfer," said Pizetoski.
"I know I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but I am willing to do what it takes to get there."
Pizetoski will continue on that journey this season for North Meck, as he looks to accomplish his more immediate goals. Clarke thinks he's capable of that.
"He's a monster on the course," he said. "I think I've got the best golfer in the conference and that is definitely a nice place to start."
Pizetoski's biggest competition will likely come from his former teammate, Hough's Conner Lewis, with Hopewell's Brandon Holst and Mallard Creek's Mac White also challenging for I-Meck supremacy.
While Pizetoski has long-term goals, for now, he is still focused on simply getting better.
"I have a lot of things I can improve on everyday on the course," he said. "I think competition is what brings out the best in me. When I play against the best, I feel like I play my best."
Pizetoski hopes his best is soon to come.