DiGrazia proof you can't tell the players' gender by scorecards
Gigi DiGrazia doesn't have her license yet, but she can drive.
Right down the middle of the fairway.
One of the best high school girls golfers in Illinois, DiGrazia plays with the boys during the regular season since Driscoll doesn't have enough female golfers to field a girls team.
That's fine with DiGrazia.
"It's fun to me because it challenges me as a golfer," she said. "I know sometimes with the girls the competition is good, but it's not always there.
"But with the guys I know I have to shoot low every time in order to help my team out because if I shoot anything in the high 40s my score's not going to be counted, so I'm challenged to play my best each and every round, which I think has helped me as a golfer."
DiGrazia has certainly helped the boys team. The junior has not only consistently posted one of the top four scores for the Highlanders, but she's also been the medalist (the golfer with the best score) in competitions semi-regularly since she's been a freshman on the varsity.
This year DiGrazia has been shooting in the high 30s to low 40s for nine holes. She's received interest from Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee and Minnesota.
"The boys hit the ball so far," Driscoll coach Mark Heading said. " 'Gig' doesn't hit it as far, but she hits it pretty accurately down the middle. She plays more of a target game."
Boys typically hit drives of 280 to 290 yards. DiGrazia, who is 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds, goes about 240.
"And that's on a good one," she said. "So they're always, like, 50 yards ahead of me, but I just play my own game and try not to worry about what they're doing. If I've got to come in with a wood and they're coming in with a low iron, who cares? The point is to get it closest to the hole and make it in."
DiGrazia has never run into another girl at the boys varsity level. Apparently, neither have her male opponents.
"It's always the same no matter where we go, who we play," Heading said. "The first thing that goes through their mind is, 'Oh, they've got a girl.' And she gets up on the driving range and she starts pounding the ball and they go, 'Uh oh, I've heard about this girl.'
"You get to the first tee and all the pressure's on the boys at that point because they feel that if they don't beat her they're going to get razzed by their teammates, so they put a lot of pressure on themselves and she just goes out and plays her game."
Even when everyone checks her out on the first tee.
"She could have 75 people watching her, she doesn't care," Heading said. "She just hits the ball."
"I'm used to it now," said DiGrazia, who's the point guard on Driscoll's girls basketball team. "It's no big deal. When all the others are teeing off, the rest of the guys are just talking with their team. Then all of a sudden I walk up there and it's like, 'Shhh, everyone be quiet.' But it's fine with me. I stay focused.
"I'm a junior now and it's kind of getting old, but I know as a freshman I was kind of shaking over the first tee. I wanted to hit it good to kind of prove myself so I didn't hear the comments under their breath and stuff."
When the state playoffs arrive, DiGrazia competes with the girls. She finished 16th in Class A as a freshman and seventh in Class AA as a sophomore.
This season she'll be in Class A, and she thinks she can win the state title on Oct. 13 at Stone Creek Golf Course in Makanda.
"I feel like I have the game to," DiGrazia said. "Hopefully this year is my year. We're playing at the same course as I've played at the past two years and I've never really been able to go real low at this course, so I'd like to kind of break the barrier."
As far as obtaining a driver's license, DiGrazia still has to complete her behind-the-wheel hours before she applies for one.
"I still don't think my parents are ready to let me drive," she said with a laugh.
If DiGrazia drives a car like she drives a golf ball, her parents have nothing to worry about.