Josh Gibson’s first collegiate hole-in-one echoed through the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Tuesday in Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida.
The Hope College sophomore from Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS) aced the 142-yard,
par-3 15th hole en route to a 1-over-par 73 at Mission Inn & Resort’s El Campeon Golf
Gibson is tied for 17th among 215 golfers. He also helped the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Flying Dutchmen to a team score of 306 that was them in 18th place out of 42 teams.
The top 18 teams and five individuals from non-advancing teams make the second-round cut.
Hope coach Bob Ebels said his team is in good shape to make the cut. The Flying Dutchmen entered Wednesday’s second round just two strokes behind four teams.
Eleven of the teams ahead of Hope have to play on what Ebels considers the challenging El Campeon course.
“We were here in 2012. I thought if we could shoot 300 on the hardest course, we’d be in good shape,” Ebels said. “Most of the scores are falling into the same bracket as 2012.”
Besides Gibson, the Flying Dutchmen received on Tuesday 77s from senior Winton Munch of Traverse City, Michigan (Central) and junior Kade Hoeksema of Byron Center, Michigan (South Christian).
Sophomore Andrew Goble of Brighton, Michigan (Brighton) rounded out Hope’s scoring with a 79.
Sophomore Ben Kramer of Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake) finished with an 81.
Huntingdon leads with a team score of 293.
Gibson hit the perfect iron shot for his aces, Ebels said. The ball landed past the hole and spun back into the cup.
“Just like they do it in commercial. It was the most beautiful thing you could imagine seeing,” Ebels said. “It’s an island-type of green. The entire putting surface is surrounded by wasteland.
“Josh was besides himself with excitement. It was the highest point of his college career.”
After his hole-in-one, Gibson managed his emotions and finished the final three holes at 1-over.
Ebels was proud of how Gibson controlled his emotions after such a jubilant moment.
Ebels also was pleased with how his senior co-captain, Munch, responded after a quadruple bogey on his first hole. Munch played at 1-over the rest of the round.
“A normal golfer would collapse. Not Winton. He dug his teeth in,” Ebels said.