MORAVIA — Not that Marty Hermsen is counting, but he's playing golf for decades and has yet to record a hole-in-one.
Noah Hamm, meanwhile, is competing in his junior season at Davis County. There are still several decades left for Hamm to get another hole-in-one after hitting his first on Thursday during the Moravia Mohawk Invitational.
Hamm aced the par-3 17th hole of The Preserve Course on Lake Rathbun, getting a fortunate kick after just getting his tee shot to clear a front bunker. The ball kick off a bank onto the green and rolled several feet to the hole some 185 yards away from the tee box.
"I wasn't really sure if it had gone in or not," Hamm said. "I wasn't going to get too pumped up about until I was sure.”
Hamm and his playing partners were able to celebrate the accomplishment once they arrived at the 17th green. The ace helped Hamm record Davis County's second-best score of the tournament with a 93, including one shot that will always be remembered.
"It certainly helps keep your score down," Hamm joked about the hole-in-one. "I didn't yell or anything when I found it in the hole, but I was pretty pumped. Some people go there whole lives without getting a hole-in-one.”
Doesn't Hermsen know it. The head coach of the Albia Blue Demons enjoyed marking '1' with giant circles around Hamm's 17th-hole score on the board outside the Preserve clubhouse.
"It's awesome to see anyone can accomplish that feat," Hermsen said. "I've had two players during my years coaching at Albia. It's cool to see. It's really neat.”
Hamm's ace was one of the main points of discussion at the end of the second tournament in three days played at The Preserve. Pella followed in the footsteps of Little Hawkeye Conference rival Knoxville by winning a team title on the shores of Lake Rathbun, edging Des Moines Christian by just two strokes (332-334) with the battle for the top individual score ultimately playing a huge part in determining the team title as Will Simpson's one-over-par round of 73 beat out Des Moines Christian junior Jake Weissenburger's three-over-par round of 75.
"It was a good day. It took some good shots in tough conditions," Simpson said. "One of our goals coming into the day was no doubles (bogeys) and no three-putts. I had a couple of three-putts, but I stayed away from the doubles.”
Knoxville, back at The Preserve two days after beating Albia by 11 strokes for the North-South Invitational title, finished third at the Mohawk Invite following a 342 on Tuesday with a 341 on Thursday. Evan Smith, the North-South individual champion, finished fourth on Thursday with a second straight round of 76 for the Panthers.
Nipping right at Knoxville's heels were the Oskaloosa Indians, falling a shot short of the Panthers for third place with a team score of 342. Carter Parks and Joe Glasgow shared top scoring honors for Osky with round of 84 as the Indians had five players finish with five shots of each other by the end of the day.
The Blue Demons finished with a team score of 350 on Thursday, improving their North-South Invite score by three strokes. Landon Simpson finished as the low man on the day for the Blue Demons with an 85 helping Albia overcome higher rounds on Thursday from multiple players.
"I think I've got a couple gentlemen that are pretty disappointed with how they shot today," Hermsen said. "The good news is we had a couple other guys that stepped up and played better. We'll continue to get better. It's going to continue to be a growing process, but we're going to get better.”
Easton White made another run at a top-10 finish on The Preserve after finishing in a tie for 10th Tuesday with a round of 88, helping the Davis County Mustangs finish seventh as a team with a score of 383. White fired an 83 on Thursday at the Mohawk Invite, leading Davis County to a 375 team total giving the Mustangs a 10th-place finish out of 16 teams.
Moravia, playing on its home course for the second straight meet, followed up a fifth-place finish with a 375 in the North-South Invite on Tuesday with a 398 on Thursday, placing 12th led by a round of 90 from senior Kaden Whitlow. Centerville edged out the Mohawks for 11th by three shots, improving by 10 from Tuesday's North-South Invite with a team round of 395 on Thursday paced by a 93 from John White, the same score Austin White had to lead the Big Reds on Tuesday.
Fairfield, meanwhile, followed up a ninth-place finish on Tuesday at the Oskaloosa Invitational by placing sixth on Thursday, improving by four strokes at The Preserve with a 356 after firing a 360 at Edmundson Golf Course 48 hours earlier. Max Weaton continued to lead the Trojans, following an 83 on Tuesday that included a pair of birdies in Oskaloosa with a round of 82 on Thursday playing with younger brother Sam and eventual meet medalist Simpson.