Greensburg Central Catholic’s Boyle an athlete for all seasons, but golf rises to top

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | 10:48 AM


Baseball mainly has been his summer sport, hockey in the winter. But golf? Well, for Wade Boyle, it’s becoming something he wants to take part in all the time.

So much so the Greensburg Central Catholic junior has given up playing summer league baseball to concentrate on the links, though he plans still to participate in all three sports while attending high school.

He plays baseball and golf at GCC and amateur hockey for the Allegheny Hockey Association of Delmont, where last season as a left wing, he was voted MVP of the Badgers travel team.

Soon, however, he said golf figures to grab most of the spotlight.

“I’ve decided if I’m going to try to play a sport in college, it’ll be golf,” said Boyle, who shot a career-best 77 last week at the WPIAL Section 2-2A qualifier at Pleasant Valley Golf Club in Bullskin, tying Hunter Jurica of Derry for medalist honors.

Two other Derry golfers — Ashton Beighley, who shot 78, and Antonio Hauser, with an 82 — will join the section co-winners at the WPIAL championship Thursday at Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley Heights.

Perhaps a favorable showing there, he hoped, would fetch the attention of college coaches.

“I feel really good about it,” Boyle said of earning co-medalist. “On the front nine, I shot 41 — it was that triple bogey I had on No. 2 that really hurt me — so in my mind, I kept telling myself, ‘You’ve got to pick up your game.’ My goal at the time was just to qualify.”

He did more than that. He nearly beat the entire field.

“I think I shot 80 three times over the summer (on the Tri-State PGA-sponsored Isaly’s Junior Golf Tour),” Boyle said. “My best round competitively is that 77.”

Now, if he could just better that card Thursday, he just might put himself in contention for a Class 2A championship.

Boyle, who is considering an opportunity to play next summer in selected regional American Junior Golf Association-sponsored events, said his best 18-hole score came during a practice round at Totteridge Golf Club in Salem, where he shot 73, including 33 on the back nine.

His best competitive round for nine holes, he said, is 36.

“He played steady last year for us as our fourth or fifth guy,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Dan Mahoney said. “Sometimes, we used him at No. 2 or 3. He has become more passionate about the game, and now he’s our No. 1 guy. After last fall, as the year went on and through the summer, he became very serious about getting better.”

From his sophomore to junior seasons at GCC, Boyle shaved eight strokes off his handicap, and he began to work on his game religiously — most recently at Totteridge, where he held a summer job.

“He’s been very consistent all year,” Mahoney said. “He’s hovering around 39-40 on the average for nine holes.”

At times while practicing on a particular hole at Totteridge, Boyle said he moves up to the red tees in order to shorten the distance to the hole and set up a series of wedge shots.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people about that and have found that most everyone who wants to improve their wedge shots are doing that,” Boyle said.

But he also enjoys the challenge of playing from as far back as possible.

“It’s nice working at Totteridge because they have black tees there — 7,200 yards — and that gives you a good chance on a lot of par 4s to still hit a long shot after your drive. It gives you a chance to use more of your clubs.”

In the winter months, when golf courses sometimes are unplayable and the temperature drops below freezing, Boyle finds it helpful to play at Hempfield-based Corsi’s Indoor Golf Inc.

“I try to go there once or twice a week,” he said. “It definitely helps. You get to see your swing path, how your club face hits the ball, the spin on the ball and the ball and club speeds. You get to see all of that, which really intrigues me.”

Boyle said his grandfather, Hideki Hamamotto, a Japanese American who lives in Fairfax, Va., has helped him to study the nuances of golf. Hamamotto, he said, would show him videos of various aspects of the game.

During the covid-19 shutdown, Boyle would Facetime his grandfather to ask him questions about golf.

“My grandpa played football in college and picked up golf later on,” Boyle said. “He always had a good swing. He’s 85 now and still shoots his score.

“One thing my grandpa told me that I always try to remember was something (late golfing great) Sam Snead said: “Forget your opponents; always play against par.”

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