Paired with childhood idol

McCarty tees it up with fellow West Branch native Rummells

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MARION — Sean McCarty shook hands with Dave Rummells after the pair finished their second round Saturday in the Greater Cedar Rapids Open at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.

It wasn’t the first time the two have played golf together.

Both players are West Branch natives. McCarty idolized Rummells, who played on the PGA Tour from 1986 to 1998 and is 15 years older than McCarty, whose parents owned the West Branch golf course where Rummells started his golf career and where McCarty watched the future pro.

“He taught me a lot growing up,” McCarty said.

McCarty played golf with Rummells then, too, but the matches weren’t close, he said. Now McCarty can hang with his childhood idol on the golf course, even though Rummells has 31 years of professional experience.

“They are good matches now,” McCarty said.

Using Rummells’ advise, McCarty, who lives in Solon, has had a successful golf career, winning a number of tournaments around Iowa. He has won the Iowa Open three times, the 1998 Waterloo Open and the 2009 Greater Cedar Rapids Open.

Even with that success, McCarty finds himself behind his former mentor after the second round here.

McCarty recorded a second-round 70 to get to 5-under-par for the tournament, five strokes behind Rummells, who is tied for second with a two-round total of 134, 10-under par.

Rummells, of Kissimmee, Fla., said it’s all about his experience.

“Just from playing all those years and gaining all that experience, the key to some of these courses is you don’t have to hit it two miles,” Rummells said. “If you can have distance control where you need it, you are going to give yourself a lot of good opportunities.”

Rummells, 54, also played on the Nationwide Tour for seven years and now plays on the Sunbelt Tour for players over the age of 47. He uses the Sunbelt Tour to keep his game in shape for Champions Tour qualifiers, he said. He has played in 19 Champions Tour events in four years.

Saturday was full of low scores, led by Garrett Jones of Rewey, Wisc., who shot a 65 for the lead at 12-under.

“I started off well again and I just kind of kept it rolling today,” Jones said.

Eric Steger, Chase Wright and 2011 champion Andy Winings, who shot a second-round low 64, are tied with Rummells for second.

Marion native Bill Hoefle is at 6-under and tied for 11th place.

The final round is today at Hunter’s Ridge.

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