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John’s Journal: A Pair Of Aces At State Golf? It’s In The Hole

Players From Visitation and Mound Westonka Hit The Perfect Shot

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 1:15 PM






A pair of aces: Claire Kodama of Visitation and Mac Harmer of Mound Westonka.

Neither Claire Kodama nor Mac Harmer saw exactly where their golf ball ended up after bouncing onto the green on par-3 holes during the Class 2A state tournament this week. But the reaction of others was clear: In both cases, a whole bunch of shouting made it clear that the two had knocked the ball directly from the tee to the green and right smack into the cup.

Neither had made a hole-in-one before Tuesday’s first round at the Ridges at Sand Creek course in the Scott Country countryside near Jordan.

Claire, a junior from Visitation, played at state for the third year in a row. Mac, a senior at Mound Westonka, was at state for the first time. Getting an ace on the big stage made an exciting week even better.

“There were a few high fives,” Claire said. “It was really, really fun.”

She got her hole-in-one on the fifth hole she played (both Claire and Mac began their rounds on the back nine). Claire used a 9-iron on the 122-yard hole, with the ball bouncing a couple times before diving into the cup. She wasn’t sure where it was.

“I was actually aiming for about 10 yards right of the pin and I just had a really lucky bounce,” she said. “I thought it just went behind the pin and that's why we couldn't see it. So I was really nervous until I saw it in the hole.”

At that point, Claire said she was “kind of in shock.” She said her playing partners -- Arivia DeBoer of Minnewaska and Avery Maus of Kimball/Eden Valley-Watkins – “were all really excited.”

It can be a challenge to settle down and play the rest of the round after an ace, when your total score is what really matters.

“I think my adrenaline was going so much that I was almost like overheating a few times, but overall it didn't throw me off too much,” Claire said. “I had to focus on breathing and calming down before I hit my drive on the next hole.”

Claire shot a 79 in Tuesday’s first round and an 86 Wednesday. Her total of 165 placed her 21st in a field of 88 competitors. Her twin sister Sarah, who qualified for state for the first time, went 72-87-176. Mac carded an 83 Tuesday and an 80 on Wednesday, with his 163 total placing him 48th among 88 boys.

Mac’s hole-in-one came on his 15th hole, a 121-yarder. He hit a 54-degree wedge, and like Claire, wasn’t sure where the ball went. He played Tuesday with Nolan Witham of Concordia Academy and Nicholas Melvin on North Branch.

“It took a hop towards the pin and then I lost it,” he said. “Then I heard some cheering. Everyone the group in front of us started cheering.”

That’s one sweet sound.

Mac said he had been struggling before his big shot, but he finished very strong.

“It turned my game around. I had a really bad first 14 holes and then the 15th turned it around and I finished with three pars, so that was good.”

It was all good.

--To see complete results from the state golf tournaments, click here:

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

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