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Eagle Creek honors three on Heritage Park Wall

By DON HOHLER • Jul 8, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Three long-time members of both the Elks Club and Eagle Creek will have their facial features permanently-placed on the Heritage Park Wall Sunday afternoon. The three, all either club champions or flight champions over the years, are Billy Terry, Steve Schneider and Al Koontz.

The ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at The Park located just off Eagle Creek’s No. 12 tee. A 12-hole tournament with a shamble format that is open to the public will follow. Players can enter either as a foursome or as an individual. In the latter case, the pro shop will make up the foursome. A meal following the tournament is included in the entry fee of $55 for non-members.

The following are short bio’s on the inductees:

BILLY TERRY

Terry was on the golf course at age 8. He was already scoring in the high 30’s as a 13-year-old. For many years, he caddied at the Elks Club.

He spent three weeks in 1967 at the Pinehurst Golf Academy, finishing runner-up in the final tournament while winning the Sportsmanship Award. He was rewarded with a picture in Golf World.

He went on to become a three-year letter winner at Norwalk High, making the state tournament as a senior.

He has four aces on four different courses.

Terry’s remains competitive even though he won his first title at the old 9-hole course in 1977, winning the B flight title that year, 1-up over Tom Hutton.

Terry bounced back and forth between A and B flight for several years, losing the A title in the championship match to Kevin Kirkpatrick in 1976, 4&3, and then getting nipped. 1-up by Chuck Furey for the B title four years later.

Terry’s first venture into a club championship match was in 1988 when he lost to five-time champion Curt Everman, 6&5. He would follow that defeat with three club championships, the first in 1992 when in a match for the ages, one over 36 holes that saw neither player with more than a 1-up lead; he edged Brian Kniffin on the 36th hole. He had an easier time the following year against long-hitting Tim Phillips, winning that one 3&2 with a finishing birdie-fest, six of them in the last 16 holes.

It would be 14 years before Terry won his third title, this time on a different course and with a different format. It took him 38 holes but he got it done, again over youth, Scott Hassee.

In between, he would make the finals in 1995, the day before the course would start a 364-day transition into Eagle Creek. He would lose to Ben Wilkins, the latter winning his second of three titles.

Since then, Terry, competing as a senior, won the Super Sr. title in 2013, showing 80-77—157 numbers; winning that same plaque again in 2015 and then tying Jim Mongiardo for the Super Sr. title last year when both shot 153.

STEVE SCHNEIDER

Steve Schneider will not be foreign to the podium at Heritage Park on Sunday. Twice, first for Mike Battles and again for Charlie Peckham, he has presented inductees.

Schneider was introduced to the game even earlier than Terry, at four years old. He has been a fixture out south first as a letter-winning high school player and then then as a top-notch amateur player. He co-founded a highly-competitive scratch league and has been a long-time officer in the Men’s Golf Association.

He was the personal coach of his son, Eric, the latter a two-year Junior Champion and four-year letter-winner at NHS. He also helped tutor Eric’s daughter, Hannah, a stalwart of the NHS girls’ team and later a four-year letter-winner at Findlay University. He was also instrumental in grooming Hannah’s sister, Ellie. After four years at NHS. she will start her college career this fall at Shawnee State.

Schneider has two aces, the last one at Eagle Creek in 2015, the one that tied wife, Karen for family bragging rights.

Like Terry, Schneider has several notable accomplishments outside the courses to the south including several at Southern Pines, the site of the annual National Elks Tournament, and one in 1981 in Chicago when he won low gross at the Global Society of Plastic Engineers Tournament.

Schneider’s banner years were in the mid-1970’s but, like Terry, found his game at least once later in his career.

It was 1976 when he first made a 36-hole final. He went up against a three-time champion in Jim Widman, losing 4&3.

Undaunted by the loss, he came back the following year and won the title, beating a player who moved the ball from right to left like no other who has ever played out south, Dan Myntti, 4&3.

Schneider was back in the finals again in 1984, this time against a virtual unknown at the course, former St. Paul High School Principal Denny Demcho. The latter proved to be a formidable opponent, succumbing late in the 36-hole final, 2&1.

It was somewhat of a surprise when Schneider, now on the teeing grounds of Eagle Creek, competed for the title as late as 2009. He would end up as the championship flight runner-up, again losing to youth in Matt Jones, by eight strokes, 149 to 141. He was a hands-down winner that weekend as the senior champion.

His best finish since was in 2015 when he shot a competitive 78-79—157 to finish in the middle of the championship flight pack. Dustin Lieber, now the pro at the course, shot 71-76 to win his second title.

AL KOONTZ

Al Koontz could easily be called a legend when it comes to the courses out south.

An electrician by trade, he has virtually re-wired the Elk’s complex.

An Elks Club member for 49 years and a player for a lot longer than that, he has five aces to his credit. In addition to winning a State Elk’s B Flight title, he has been a near constant fixture when it comes to post season play, first the 9-hole course and then Eagle Creek.

Amazing is the fact that since 1974, he has shot his age 33 times.

Koontz started his collection of golfing hardware in 1981 with a runner-up trophy, losing on the second sudden death hole to Don Halter.

Thirteen years later (1994) he was back on the scene for the Labor Day matches, this time as a finalist for the B flight title, one he won 2-up over Doug Smith. Two years later he won the B flight championship, this time by a whopping eight strokes over Norwalk basketball coach Bob Oberle.

Jump ahead to 2011 when he was in the B flight field. He took youth, in this case Joe Gross, to six holes of sudden death before losing. He shot 83-81—164 which most years would have won that flight quite handily.

Two years later, Koontz was again two strokes short, 167 to 169 as the runner-up to Gary Keefer in C flight.

Koontz won C flight in 2015 by a stroke, shooting 86-85—171, this time edging Dave Brady. He was one of many in the C flight field in 2016 that would be overwhelmed by Steve Pittenger. Koontz was second but by 11 strokes.

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