NEW BRITAIN — Officials were going over the contingency plan just in case the CIAC Division II Golf team title would need to be decided in a playoff.
Matthew Doyle’s brilliance made all chatter of extra golf seem irrelevant as he not only earned medalist honors with a 1-under par round in windy conditions at Stanley Golf Course, but his score of 70 clinched the team title for the Hand High squad.
“You have to think about the team and yourself at the same time,” Doyle said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I wanted to make that putt for the team just because I knew it could come down to a couple of shots and also I wanted to make that putt because I would have broken 70.”
Hand was up by three shots on Berlin, led two-time defending champion Avon by four shots and Farmington was five shots back with only the final star-studded foursome to finish up play. With three of the top 11 rated players in the state in the final group, it could have been interesting if Doyle was off his game. Instead, the Tigers were able to celebrate a state title to go along with the Southern Connecticut Conference title that Hand captured in dominating fashion last week.
“It has been great,” Doyle said. “Our goal going into this year was to win SCCs and states, it has just been a total team effort.”
That was never more evident than on Monday when Jake Bennett and Aidan Stuart each finished with scores of 78, Michael McKeon had an 82 and Conner Quinn had a 36 on the back nine after a tough start.
“Great, great year for this group, you have five kids and they just love to play golf, they love to compete,” Hand coach Jim Holleran said. “We don’t have a weak link on the team. I saw today my 5 guy [McKeon] came in with an 82 and he’s done that many times during the season. It’s been a great year, great camaraderie, they get along and like to play golf, nine holes of practice was never enough for them they would go out and play nine more.”
Hand finished with 308, Avon came in next at 313 followed by Berlin at 318.
E.O. Smith’s Aham Lee posted a 74 in the third group of the day and that score stood until the last two groups as Berlin’s No. 2 golfer Jacob Lindsay had a 72 and Avon’s No. 1 Michael Hanratty matched Lee with a 74.
Lee believes he benefited from playing the CCC championships on this course in the last three years.
“This is probably the best competition round that I have had,” Lee said. “I shot 86, 88, 79 and now 74. The experience was helpful.”
DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIPS
(at Stanley GC)