Gone in 60 strokes: McCulla sets new record at Westview Golf Course by shooting 11-under


Alex McCulla and Jack Leffers signed their scoreboard following Thursday's round at Westview Golf Course in which McCulla broke the course record with an 11-under 60. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — David Hutson and Luke Siebers were met with a challenge when they joined a pair of their former Quincy Notre Dame golf teammates for the final nine holes of what turned out to be a record-setting round Thursday.

Just don’t kill the vibe.

Truth be told, they probably enhanced it.

When they arrived at Westview Golf Course on Thursday afternoon, two former Raiders — Alex McCulla and Jack Leffers — were already at the turn. At that time, McCulla had birdied seven consecutive holes and shot a 7-under 29 on the front nine.

However, his golf bag speaker had died on the third hole.

“I was kind of complaining to Jack about it,” said McCulla, the reigning Quincy men’s city champion who will be a senior at Illinois State University. “And he was like, ‘When your speaker died, you got on fire. Maybe we didn’t need the speaker.’ I told him no because you always need the speaker.”

So Hutson brought his. In honor of the Fourth of July holiday, McCulla and Leffers were listening to music from Toby Keith before the speaker crashed. When Hutson took over the musical duties, they turned to classic rock from  the 1970s.

“I like America, the Steve Miller Band, the Eagles … we had all those bands going,” McCulla said. “I told David he was in charge of the music but don’t turn on anything I’m not going to like. Don’t kill the vibe. And he delivered. The music was A-one.”

So was McCulla’s play.

He birdied the par-4 10th hole to show the vibe was still alive and closed his round with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 17th and par-4 18th to shoot a 4-under 31 on the back nine to card an 11-under 60 to set the modern day Westview course record.

Leffers, who witnessed the entire round, shot an even-par 71.

From left, Luke Siebers, Alex McCulla, David Hutson and Jack Leffers pose for a photo as McCulla holds the signed scorecard showing he shot a Westview Golf Course record 11-under 60 on Thursday. | Submitted photo

McCulla broke the mark shared by Luke Guthrie and the late Ryan Buxman. Guthrie shot a round of 10-under 61 in 2009 while a student at the University of Illinois. Buxman matched it with a 10-birdie, no-bogey effort to shoot 61 in 2020.

“I told the boys I was picking up the dinner tab after that,” McCulla said.

A celebratory feast at Texas Roadhouse hit the spot.

“It’s good, solid eats,” McCulla said.

Especially after a solid day of golf, something McCulla hadn’t played much of lately. He hadn’t picked up a club in at least two weeks, not since playing in the member-guest event at Quincy Country Club with Drew Eaton.

“I’m on the first tee and I’m thinking this could go anywhere,” said McCulla, whose summer job is remodeling a house and doing woodwork on the side. “I’m like, ‘This feels foreign to be holding a golf club instead of a tool.’ I striped it to start and I was like, ‘Hey, not too bad.’”

It’s when he first thought about what he might score.

“Sometimes you’ll go out there with your friends and you’ll bump it or hit an extra ball,” McCulla said. “But I was telling Jack I hadn’t played in a while so let’s play it straight and see what I throw down. I finished everything out.”

And he got in a groove.

“I was very pleasantly surprised how I felt over the ball,” McCulla said. “I felt healthy.”

He made his first birdie on the par-4 third hole, rolling in a 5-footer. He followed with a tap-in birdie on the par-3 fourth and made birdies on the back-to-back par-5s. After another short birdie putt on No. 7, McCulla had his first challenging putt. 

His drive left him with a wedge from 90 yards out and he ended up about 15 feet from the cup. He rolled in the birdie putt and then followed it up with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth.

“That’s when I was like, ‘Now, we’re in business. This is legit,’” McCulla said. “So we had to slow down on the Michelob Ultras that were firing on the first nine and treat this a little more serious.”

As much as McCulla and that crew could be serious.

“I love all of those dudes,” McCulla said. “Playing with them is the best. They were pumped up and they were all into it.”

They even encouraged him to go for the record — if not more.

After McCulla bogeyed the par-4 16th, he mentioned needing back-to-back birdies to shoot 60. Leffers interjected and told him to go for a pair of 3s to finish, which would have meant an eagle on No. 17 and a birdie on No. 18 to shoot 59.

“That’s a good thing to hear,” McCulla said. “I like someone who was thinking you can make eagle here. Don’t back down.”

His eagle putt on No. 17 ended up a couple of revolutions short of going in, which left him needing a par on the 18th to tie the record and a birdie to break it.

“I’m not going to lie, I was feeling it there on the tee at No. 18,” McCulla said. “I was thinking, ‘This is kind of a big deal.’”

A pair of quality shots left him with a 2-footer for birdie and the record.

“I put a good stroke on it and got it center cut,” McCulla said. “Over the putt, I was already ready to sign the card. I really didn’t have any worries over it. At the end of the day, you want that record, but you look at the bigger picture and put it in perspective.

“I got to play with my best buddies, we’re having fun and we’re going to go have more fun after this no matter what.”

And his playing partners did their job. They didn’t kill the vibe.

“They did exactly what they needed to do,” McCulla said. “They came out with liquid ammunition and a speaker. It was perfect.”

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