Matt Doyle has been a part of a victorious league championship and state championship at Hand High, occupying the No. 1 spot on the team for both titles. Among his individual accomplishments was winning both the State Junior Amateur and the Connecticut Junior PGA last summer.
Doyle even made a hole-in-one back in 2016. But he had never recorded an albatross … until Monday afternoon.
Doyle made the double-eagle on the 466-yard par-5 sixth hole at Madison Country Club. He holed a 6-iron from 177 yards out.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot. To see it go in and have it happen in a match is fantastic,” Doyle said. “After it dropped in the cup, I dropped my club and ran over to Reece (Scott, his teammate playing in the same group) and chest-bumped him. I’m very glad to have witnesses to the shot or else it would be hard to believe.”
The albatross helped Doyle, a senior, shoot a 4-under-par 31. Hand defeated Guilford 139-173 to remain undefeated.
Interestingly, it was not the lowest score Doyle has shot on the front nine, although it is the lowest in a high school match. He has shot both 29 and 30 there.
Doyle has had all of his success despite often playing golf in pain. He has had a degenerative hip condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes since birth. This is when the blood supply fails to reach the ball part of the hip joint and the bone slowly begins to die.
Because high school matches are normally nine holes, Doyle can walk the course and Madison CC is pretty flat. For the 18-hole matches like the SCC and CIAC Division II state championships, Doyle does use a cart.
“It’s honestly the same (pain). I know how to deal with it more. I try to limit my walking up and down hills, (avoid) long distances. I won’t leave my bag on the other side of the green to prevent an extra 30 yards of walking. … I sleep on my right side or my back, because if I sleep on my other side, I will wake up a few times in the middle of the night in pain.”
Doyle committed to play Division I golf at Elon in November of 2019. He said that he had worked it out with the university and the NCAA to be able to use a cart during his matches.
“Hip reconstruction surgery would put me out of golf for over a year and a half. I wouldn’t be able to walk for a year,” Doyle told Hearst Connecticut Media last year. “We were going to do it in between the sixth and seventh grades. We (the family) decided not to operate. Right now, we will hold off until hip replacement at age 25 after college.”
“His mental toughness and ability to endure the pain that he goes through at times, along with his leadership with the team and the determination, Matt is a very impressive individual,” Hand coach Jim Holleran said.