Annual golf tournament honors Westborough's Greg Montalbano
By Molly McCarthy, Contributing Writer
Westborough – In spite of over a decade of health challenges that would have defeated many, Greg Montalbano, a Westborough native, had a full life playing baseball for St. John's High School, Northeastern University, the Red Sox organization, and the Worcester Tornadoes.
“When he was out on the ball field it was like nothing else mattered,” said his sister Kristen Montalbano.
He had a fierce love for the outdoors that led him to become an Eagle Scout with Westborough Troop 100. His athletic ability made him tough competition on the golf course, while his jokes and personality made him a fun choice for a golf partner.
Sadly, Montalbano passed away in 2009 at age 31, after a 13-year battle with cancer.
Prior to his passing, from his hospital bed, he told his sister about his dream of helping others through a charitable golf tournament. Kristen recorded the vision in a notebook as he spoke.
“He was adamant that he wanted it to be a fun tournament. He wanted there to be a great goody bag and there had to be navy blue hats,” she said.
While Montalbano was not able to see his desire come to fruition, his family, friends, and co-workers were able to fulfill his dream through The Greg Montalbano Golf Classic, organized by One Ball Two Strike, Inc.
The fourth annual event was held Sept. 20 at Highfields Golf and Country Club in Grafton.
The set-up of the tournament, a double shotgun scramble format, along with the name and logo, came directly from the notebook.
The tournament has also stayed true to being fun. One hole on the course is set up as a crime scene where Sasquatch has been run over, based on a story of Montalbano and his cousin hearing noises while golfing at dusk and blaming Sasquatch as the culprit. On hole eight, golfers use Montalbano's left-handed hockey stick or limited-edition Greg Montalbano Louisville Slugger to putt.
One Ball Two Strike, Inc., is a 501c3 charitable organization with the mission to “honor Greg by providing unique and/or once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children or young adults and their families battling terminal or life-threatening illnesses, as well as to provide positive recreational opportunities for the youth in our communities.”
The mission fits Montalbano's helping personality. He visited the children at the Jimmy Fund Clinic while he was fighting his own battle with cancer.
“Greg was such a humble guy. I didn's know he went there until he died,” Kristen said. “He just wanted to be able to help people and didn's need to let people know.”
The tournament has raised over $80,000 in previous years. Kristen hopes this year will bring the number to $100,000. This year, the money raised will go to Catch-A-Dream, the Pediatric Activities Fund at Dana Farber Institute, and youth recreational organizations in the local community.
Visit http://www.1ball2strikes.org for more information.
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