Photo provided // COUNTY CHAMPS: The Noblesville boys golf team celebrates a championship at Thursday’s Hamilton County Meet. The Millers shot 291 as a team, three strokes better than Westfield.
Photo provided // COUNTY CHAMPS: The Noblesville boys golf team celebrates a championship at Thursday’s Hamilton County Meet. The Millers shot 291 as a team, three strokes better than Westfield.
More than a decade had passed since the last time Noblesville’s boys golf team tasted victory at the Hamilton County Meet — until Thursday. 

Behind several clutch performances on the back nine, the IHSGCA No. 5 Millers pulled out a tightly-contested tournament at Bear Slide Golf Club in Cicero, finishing 3 strokes ahead of No. 6 Westfield, five ahead of No. 2 Carmel and seven ahead of No. 17 Guerin Catholic. 

No. 18 Fishers, No. 20 Hamilton Southeastern, Hamilton Heights and University rounded out the field, respectively. 

The finish on the par-70 course was so close that the teams had to wait until the final scores were posted to find out who had come away with a county championship. 

“It’s really good to break through against such a quality field,” said Noblesville coach Gary Sewell. “We’ve come close, finishing second on a few occasions. It just seemed like it was always out of our reach — until this time.” 

The Millers finished with three golfers — Clay Merchant, Jacob Deakyne and Jack Barnes — who shot in the top five individual scores. Merchant shot a 68 (-2), while Deakyne and Barnes both shot a 72 (+2). Carmel’s Andrew Lewis (-4) and Guerin’s Andrew White (-2) finished first and tied for second overall, respectively. 

Noblesville’s other golfers — Kyle Claussen (+9) and Joe Whallon (+10) — gave the Millers an entire squad who finished at least 10 strokes within par 

“Having scores that were grouped together really, really helped us,” Sewell said. “Anytime you can get someone who comes in under par — like Clay — that really helps also. We played well on the back nine to secure the win. Clay played really well, Jacob was at one time five over for the round, and he finished two over. Jack played pretty steady all day. He was never more than a couple over par … We are extremely pleased that we were able to come away with the win. We’ve had a lot of close ones here lately.” 

Noblesville expects to win every time they take the course, Sewell said, but coming away with a win in the Hamilton County Meet shows his team they’re capable of achieving even greater feats. 

“We have such a strong county for golf,” he said. “You’re not going to find another county around here that has as many good, quality teams as (Hamilton County). It’s an extremely competitive county and field that we had to go against.” 

The Miller don’t have much time to celebrate their county championship, as Noblesville competes in the Muncie Central Invitational at The Players Club at Woodland Trails in Yorktown today at 1 p.m. The course is the site for this year’s regional tournament, where the Millers will look to continue to show they can perform with the best. 

“We know that we can play and compete against the elite teams,” Sewell said. “We feel we are one of the elite teams in the state … Now, it’s about going there and executing.”