NORMAL — Tommy Kuhl picked a great time for his best two 18-hole rounds of the season.
The Morton senior golfer followed up his state-finals record 63 on Friday with a sparkling 66 Saturday to shatter the all-time tournament two-day record in any class by eight strokes with a spectacular 129 total at Weibring Golf Course. The previous two-day record in all three classes was 137.
"It was the most impressive two days of golf I’ve ever witnessed," said Morton coach Jamie King. "He’s been the most talented player in the state for four years. The best player in the state had his best stuff this weekend. He was just flawless."
Kuhl led the second-place golfer by seven strokes entering the day and quickly increased it when he birdied No. 2 and eagled No. 3. From then, the only suspense was by how much Kuhl would break the all-time records.
"On the eagle, I hooked my drive a little bit, but I had a good angle at the green," he said. "I hit a good chip and luckily it went in. It was cool."
Kuhl’s longtime nemesis, Dallas Koth of Normal U-High, finished second, 12 strokes behind.
The only blemishes on Kuhl's scorecard were a pair of bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8.
"On 7 and 8, I started getting impatient and got out of my game," Kuhl said. "It’s hard to get back into it, but I did and finished strong. I held my emotions together and had good course management."
Kuhl, who is committed to play at Illinois, bookended his high school golf career with individual state titles as a freshman and a senior. In between, he was 17th and tied for fourth.
"Last year, I had a really colorful scorecard," he said. "I didn’t course manage at all. This year, I tried to go in with a different approach and not make it too stressful on myself. I played really patient."
Said Kuhl’s father, Mike: "We’re really proud of him. He’s worked hard and has earned this. This is a great legacy for him."
As a team, Morton finished fourth with a 611 two-day total, three strokes behind third-place Normal U-High. Charleston, with a 599, captured the 2A title.
Potters sophomore Connor Vicary posted a 79 for a 156 total, good for a tie for 33rd place. He tied with East Peoria’s Matthew Cox, who fired a 76 Saturday.
Matt Leist of Dunlap was one stroke behind at 157 after shooting 75. He tied for 40th. Notre Dame’s Mikey Wales tied for 43rd with a 77-158.
Next among area 2A golfers was Illinois Valley Central’s Hunter Mettille, who shot an 82 and finished with a 160. Macomb’s John Michael Nixa ended with an 84 Saturday and a 163 overall.
Two more Morton golfers were next at 164 — Bobby Strode, who posted a 78 Saturday, and Isaac Ingold, who had a 77.
In Class 3A at the Den at Fox Creek, Pekin ended in last place among the 12 teams with a 649, but shot much better than Friday with a 311 total. The Dragons ended six strokes behind 11th-place Naperville Central and 56 behind repeat 3A champion Hinsdale Central.
"I gave 'em a pep talk (Saturday) and told 'em we achieved our goal and were one of top 12 teams in the state," said Pekin coach Brett McGinnis. "I told 'em can’t get any worse than yesterday. They went out and were relaxed, had fun and played well.
"Yesterday was disappointing for sure. I don’t know if it was just the moment and nerves got to 'em or what. It’s hard to score with large numbers like we had and then you throw the pressure of the state tournament on top of that. It was kind of relieving coming back today and playing better."
All four scoring Dragons shot in the 70s Saturday, led by Jack Halstead and Mason Minkel with 77s. Mason Ghidina fired a 78 to lead the team for the tournament with a 154 total. Jacob Hill carded a 79.
Dave Reynolds can be reached at 686-3210 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davereynolds2.