CEDAR RAPIDS — Two shots made all the difference for Dane Worley.
Worley notched a hole-in-one and an eagle on back-to-back holes to close out a victory for the second year in a row at the Cedar Rapids Men’s City Am at Ellis Golf Course on Sunday.
The Kennedy alumnus and Drake University junior set a course record of 63 in his final round on Sunday en route to a 207, beating out Justin Pansegrau who finished with 209. After the first two rounds, Worley knew what he wanted to do on the final day.
“I knew if I could shoot 64 or 65, I might have a chance,” Worley said. “When I was even (par) through 10 holes, I thought I would try to make three or four birdies coming in to finish and see what happens. To finish my last eight holes at nine under is something I’ll never do again I’m sure.”
Entering the final round in seventh place, Worley knew he had his work cut out for him. It was on the final nine where he began to see his game pick up.
On hole No. 8 — Worley’s 17th hole of the round, as he started off the back nine to begin his round — he sank a long sought-after hole-in-one. As it was the first hole-in-one of his career, Worley’s legs began to shake from the excitement and adrenaline, but he didn’t want to let that accomplishment be the end of his success.
“The hole-in-one, it’s exciting for everybody and that’s tough to follow,” Worley said. “I’m glad it happened late in the round so I could just have one hole left where I could just focus on that one hole.”
It was on his final hole of the day where Worley built on the momentum from the hole-in-one. After being told he held a two-shot lead, Worley began to feel a little pressure, but said he focused on the task at hand and not about anything else.
Facing a par 5, Worley hit the ball at an elevated angle by the cart path, with his second shot 25 yards away from the pin. And on the third shot, it was spot on for an eagle.
“I hit a great shot down there right where I wanted to, it sat in a good spot and the chip landed perfectly,” Worley said. “It was tracking the whole way and for it to go in, it’s just surreal and I feel like I’m in a dream.”
Pansegrau, who finished with a 70 in the final round, was doing all he could to hold off Worley. On hole No. 8 — the same spot where Worley hit the hole-in-one — he sank a 40-yard putt for a birdie, but upon hearing what Worley had done on the final two holes of the day, he knew winning would be a difficult thing to do.
“I didn’t really know that Dane was doing what he was doing,” Pansegrau said. “I was just battling Steve and Ryan. And we were all really close at that point where maybe only one shot separated us. It was just kind of a three-person battle going on and Dane just came out of nowhere.”