Muscatine boys golf coach Scott Schultz witnessed the potential for multiple mental collapses at the Clinton Invitational on Wednesday.
Two-thirds through his round, Bryce Howard committed a two-stroke penalty after asking a golfer from Pleasant Valley what club he had used on his previous shot, and Miles Utley triple-bogeyed No. 8 with two holes still to play.
Instead of falling apart, both closed strong, helping lead the Muskies to the team title while outshooting Pleasant Valley by two strokes.
After the penalty, Howard had a message for his coach.
"(Howard) looked at me, and he's like, 'yeah, I did it, but I'm still going to shoot even par,'" Schultz said. "So he still had that mentality that 'yeah, OK, I know it happened, but I'm still going to dig to get back to even par.'"
Howard didn't shoot par, but he displayed mental toughness en route to the individual title with a 76.
"(The penalty) really just motivated me," Howard said. "I made a bonehead decision, it wasn't smart, and now I got to correct it and come back and finish out really strong."
Utley overcame his own struggles, finishing with an 81.
"(Utley) could have easily let his round go today," Schultz said. "And if he does, we may lose. But he didn't, he held it together over the last three or four holes."
Joshua Hutton and JT Manjoine both shot 86 to round out the top four for the Muskies, who finished with a 329 team score.