McCulla repeats as Quincy men’s city golf champion with record-setting low score


Alex McCulla stares down a birdie putt on the fifth hole Sunday at Westview Golf Course. McCulla shot a 13-under 129 total for 36 holes to win the Quincy Men's City Golf Championship. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — A window of opportunity opened for Adam Pfeiffer when Alex McCulla’s up-and-down didn’t go down as planned.

McCulla slammed it shut just as quickly.

After uncharacteristic bogey on the par-3 15th hole Sunday at Westview Golf Course, McCulla made back-to-back birdies and then drove the green on the par-4 18th hole to give himself a stress-free par that cemented his Quincy men’s city golf championship.

McCulla posted a 36-hole total of 13-under 129 — the lowest in tournament history — to beat Pfeiffer by two strokes and the rest of the field by seven shots.

“It was all really good golf, especially from what we could see from the final groups,” said McCulla, who played with Pfeiffer and Jeff Obert in the final threesome. “It wasn’t like people falling apart and giving anything away. Everyone played really well.”

It didn’t allow McCulla, who just finished his junior year at Illinois State University, to run away with his second consecutive title before the closing stretch.

Pfeiffer, who began the day one stroke behind, shot a 3-under 33 on the front nine and made five birdies with no bogeys for a round of 5-under 66 and an 11-under 131 total. Parker Freiburg, an Illinois State University alum, made four birdies on the front nine and avoided any hiccups on the back side to shoot a 4-under 67 and finished third at 6-under 136.

Collectively, there were six rounds under par Sunday and another three at even par from golfers who finished in the top 11.

“A lot of people out here made it good, too,” McCulla said. “That was quite a gallery.”

They saw history as well. McCulla broke his own city tournament scoring record with his 13-under total, bettering his score from last year by one stroke. Pfeiffer became only the second golfer in city history to finish the two-day event double digits below par.

In the past two years, the eight-time city champion has finished a combined 20-under par, yet didn’t get to break his tie with Mike O’Connell for the most championships in city history.

All because McCulla went lower.

“I drove it pretty well and didn’t really put myself in situations where there was much stress,” McCulla said. “I was pretty consistent all the way through. I wasn’t in bad spots where I had to be stressed out about anything. Hit it, go hit the next one and keep the cycle going.”

McCulla came into the weekend with a little bit of momentum.

His week began by playing in the NCAA regional in West Lafayette, Ind., where he finished tied for 34th. On the third and final day of the regional, McCulla shot a 3-under 69, one of only six players in the 78-golfer field to break 70 that day on Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.

“That course, the way it was set up for regionals, was probably the hardest course I have ever played in my life,” McCulla said. “I don’t know if I’ll play a harder course the way it was set up the last couple days. It was playing long and soft. The fairways were soft and the greens were firm and there weren’t many birdies out there.

“You know you’re playing well, but playing well out there might mean you shoot 72 or 73. You just have to focus on the positives and be like, ‘If I take that to a reasonable golf course, I’ll score.’”

Westview proved more forgiving and more birdie friendly.

The players who finished in the top 10 in the championship flight combined to make 79 birdies and three eagles.

The winners of the other flights included: Dylan Foley in the first flight with a 147; Dax Flowerree in the second flight with a 157; JB Schwener in the third flight with a 163; and Natalie Druffel in the women’s flight with a 162.

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