E.A. Sports Today

Harrell hits magic number

Former White Plains golf coach shoots 59 at Pine Hill, sets course record

Here is Marcus Harrell's scorecard after his 13-under-par 59 at Pine Hill CC.

Here is Marcus Harrell’s scorecard after his 13-under-par 59 at Pine Hill CC.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Marcus Harrell missed an eight-foot putt on the final hole for a 60 at Cider Ridge several years ago, he never thought he’d have a chance to shoot golf’s magic number ever again.

He got another chance Wednesday and, this time, he grabbed it with both hands.

The former White Plains golf coach shot a bogey-free 13-under-par 59 to set the course record at Pine Hill Country Club.

Playing from the white tees – 6,038 yards – with his brother Brock in their daily match, Marcus made eight birdies, an eagle and a double-eagle to break the course record he shared with two others by two shots. He played the back nine in 8-under-par with an eagle on the par-4 10th and a double-eagle with a 165-yard 8-iron on the par-5 15th.

“On the first tee my brother asked me what the course record was,” Marcus said. “I told him and he said you should go for it today. We played FarmLinks yesterday, 14 holes, and I made seven birdies, so we were kind of joking around about it.

“I shot 5-under on the front. That’s not even close to what you’ve got to do (to post the record score). When I eagled 10, that’s when I thought about it a little bit. I really quit thinking about it after I made three pars in a row (12, 13, 14), then you go 3-under on one hole, that helps a lot.”

Harrell, a former Oxford and Jacksonville State golfer, shot 61 at Pine Hill four times in 2011 to share the old record. Pine Hill pro Cory Etter shot 61 three times – twice from the white tees and once from the blues – and each with a bogey. Jay McElroy also carded a 61 at the course.

There was a lot of drama at the end of Wednesday’s round. He birdied 16 to get to 12-under. He hit a poor drive off into the trees on 17, hit his recovery shot to the fringe and made a 25-foot putt that hung agonizingly on the edge of the cup before falling in for birdie.

“I’m fist pumping, acting like I’m in the middle of a major tournament,” he said.

It wasn’t over, though. He still needed a par on 18 to preserve it. His drive left him 240 yards from the green, but pumped by the prospect of a magical score he hit his second shot some 70 yards over the green. He pitched back onto the green and two-putted to post his lowest round ever.

Etter said Harrell came back to the pro shop “happy as he could be” and shaking like a leaf.

“I thought I’d never shoot it again,” Harrell said. “Several years ago you tee it up hoping to shoot 59, but I’ve not been able to practice as much as I had in the past. To do it now, it’s something special.

“They always ask what happened in the 60 and I tell them I missed an eight-footer on the last hole. That’s always been my story. Now I can actually talk about how I shot 59.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login