Connor Goode upends Matt Doyle to win 80th Junior Amateur

WATERTOWN — If Connor Goode was going to be the 80th champion of the Connecticut Junior Amateur, he was going to have to take out the defending champion.

There was plenty of time to think about that fact — the final match was delayed for two weeks. But when it came time to play the match on Friday morning, Goode was up to the task.

The rising senior at Glastonbury High only made one bogey in the championship final at Watertown Golf Club, defeating Matt Doyle 4 and 2.

“It means everything to me. It opens up a lot of doors and opportunities in the future for playing college golf,” Goode said.

Doyle, who helped Hand High in Madison win a second consecutive CIAC Division II state championship last month, had won nine consecutive matches in the Junior Amateur coming into Friday’s final.

“I there was someone I would have wanted to win this event besides me, it was Connor,” Doyle said. “He’s a great kid and he played well this entire tournament.”

The final was originally supposed to be played on July 8, but was moved back a day when Watertown GC asked the CSGA — which runs the event — to start the tournament on July 6 instead of July 5. Then the makeup date was postponed because of Tropical Storm Elsa.

So the CSGA had to find a common date that could work for Goode and Doyle to play, then had to checked with Watertown GC to see if that date worked for them. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the Friday date was finalized.

“I didn’t really think about (the final) too much (the last two weeks). I’ve been pretty busy playing a lot of other tournaments,” Goode said. “I think it actually worked out because If I were just practicing and not really playing other tournaments it would have been on my mind a lot. … I didn’t think about the match too much until it was time to start getting ready for it.”

Doyle, the GameTimeCT State Player of the Year this past spring, couldn’t put any pressure on Goode throughout the match. He didn’t make any birdies on the front nine.

Goode only made one on the front nine — on the par-5 7th — and took a 3-up lead to the back nine.

“I just didn’t put myself in a good position to make birdies,” Doyle said. “I usually make five or six birdies per round and a few bogeys. That’s usually my game, which is good for match play. I just wasn’t able to get it going.”

Doyle, who will play at Division I Elon this fall, had a chance to win his first hole on No. 11 when Goode hit a tree off the tee. But he was able to scramble for par, making a 20-footer to halve the hole.

“That putt was massive. That kept me bogey free and kept the momentum my way,” Goode said.

Then Doyle hit his next tee shot out of bounds. Goode was conceded his par putt attempt to go 4 up.

Doyle finally won his first hole on 13 with par. The two halved the next two holes. Goode reached the par-5 16th hole in 2. Doyle hit his second shot left, his pitch shot spun off the front of the green, but then he chipped in for birdie, his only one on the day.

Then Goode calmly stroked in his 8-foot eagle putt to win the match.

“It didn’t really matter who I was playing against, keep playing good golf, that’s all that really mattered,” Goode said.

Said Doyle: “He just kept it going. Hats off to him, he made the putts. I didn’t have my best today, but it is what it is.”; @nhrJoeMorelli