In 16 years as a golf coach at Belleville East High School, Terry Neutzling has watched many of his players have that one magical round where all the drives go straight and all the putts fall.
Last Wednesday at Yorktown Golf Course in Shiloh, it was Neutzling who had that magical round.
Playing with several members of the Lancers boys team in a practice round, Neutzling broke the 18-hole record at the Bob Goalby/Pete Dye-designed par 3 course with a 9-under par 45. The score broke the mark of 46 held by Tom Berger. Yorktown personnel were not sure when the old mark was set, but believed Berger’s mark had stood since the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.
Yorktown opened in 1961.
“It’s almost like it wasn’t real,’’ Neutzling said on Monday. “I usually have nine guys playing, but we had two of them who were playing in a junior-varsity match that day. A couple of the guys came up with the idea of having a little competition so we played the Stableford system in four-man teams.
“I had been talking to the team about hitting the greens in regulation, then getting their first putts to the holes or just past the holes to where they had a tap-in for pars. My aim that day when I was playing was to set an example for them by getting each first putt to the hole. Only a lot of my first putts went in.’’
Neutzling, 42, who is in his fifth year as boys coach at East after coaching the Lancers girls team for the previous 10 years, had birdies on holes 2, 4, 5 and 9 to make the (9 hole) turn in four-under 23.
It was at this point where the record at Yorktown entered the minds — of the Lancers players.
“One of the kids mentioned to me that I might have a chance to break the course record. I’m like I didn’t think I was even close. I was almost sure it had to be in double digits (under par).’’ Neutzling said. “It wasn’t like I was hitting the ball that close to the pin all day. I think there was one hole where I hit it like 4 feet, but the other putts I made where in the 12-18 foot range.
“It was like everything I was hitting was going in. Left-to-right, right-to-left, up hill, down hill... it didn’t matter, the putts kept dropping.’’
Neutzling then made birdies on holes 10, 12, 14 and 15 to get to 8-under-par for the day. Still, he had no idea.
“I know it’s hard to believe but I had no idea what the course record was,’’ Neutzling said again. “I hit my drive on No. 18 to probably 12-13 feet. I noticed that there were quite a few people near the clubhouse watching me play.
“Anyway, the putt on 18 was 12-13 feet and when I made the putt, people started applauding. When I got done, I yelled up and asked what the course record was. They said it was 8-under and then I said, well I just shot 9-under. I’m glad I didn’t know the last putt was for the record. I probably would have taken a 5 if I did.’’
An Edwardsville native, Neutzling lives in Glen Carbon. He teaches Spanish at Belleville East.
“It was just a great round. The thing about it is that my team, even though I shot 9-under, we lost the match,’’ Neutzling said. “Yorktown is a great golf course and the greens are just great. You aren’t going to find a better place to work on your short games than Yorktown.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.