West Branch | Inducted 2012 | Category: Professional Golfer

No Iowan has shot a lower score in a major championship than Dave Rummells. The West Branch native fired a course-record 7-under-par 64 in the second round of the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree in Edmond, Okla.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Rummells said.

Dave ended the round with an exclamation point, dropping a 20-footer for his ninth birdie of the day. That final birdie earned him the distinction of posting the lowest score in a major by an Iowan. Steve Spray shot 65 in the final round of the 1968 U.S. Open at Oak Hill. And Zach Johnson shot a 65 in the first round of the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham. Both those scores were posted on par-70 courses.

Rummells, a shot out of the lead heading into the final round, finished sixth in the 1988 PGA. He also finished fifth the following year at Kemper Lakes in suburban Chicago, Ill. That was the highlight of a 1989 season that saw Dave finish 24th on the PGA Tour money list.

Jake Rummells let his son tag along on the golf course when he was 5 years old. Dave was a fixture at the Greenview course in West Branch for years. He won back-to-back state Class A high school titles in 1975 and 1976. He then moved on to play collegiately at Iowa, lettering four years and tying for sixth in the 1980 Big Ten Championship.

Dave also became a force on the Iowa summer tour. He played in 15 Iowa majors between 1980 and 1985, and never finished lower than eighth. He won both the Sani Invitational and Tournament of Champions in 1981. He lost playoffs to Jeff Smith at the 1981 Iowa Masters and to Curt Schnell at the 1982 Iowa Open. Rummells was the Iowa Golf Association Player of the Year award in 1981, then turned professional.

He played on mini-tours and had several unsuccessful attempts at making the PGA Tour before getting there in 1986. He played in 341 PGA Tour events in his 12-year career (1986-1998), highlighted by a runner-up finish to Phil Mickelson at the 1990 Buick Invitational. Rummells made 195 cuts and earned more than $1.9 million with 23 Top 10 finishes. “I had some good opportunities to win but it really takes a couple of good breaks,” said Rummells, who battled back and wrist injuries during his career.

He won twice on the Nationwide (now Korn Ferry) Tour, at the 1996 South Carolina Classic and the 1997 Knoxville Open. He joined the Champions Tour in 2008, qualified for the 2011 U.S. Senior Open and won the 2011 Texas Senior Open.

That 64 at Oak Tree remains a memorable moment in his career.

“That was probably the highlight of my career,” Dave said. “To shoot a course record in a major championship, that is something I’ll never forget.”

In addition to his spot in the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, Rummells was also inducted into the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Players of Fame in 2011.

Career Highlights

Amateur Career

  • 1975, 76 Iowa High School State Champion
  • Inducted into Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Players Hall of Fame in 2011
  • 1981 Herman Sani Invitational Champion
  • 1981 IGA Player of the Year

Professional Career

  • Full time member of PGA Tour 1986-1998
  • Finished 24th on PGA Tour Money List in 1989
  • 23 Top 10’s on PGA Tour
  • Runner-up 1993 Buick Invitational
  • 5th place 1989 PGA Championship
  • 6th place 1988 PGA Championship
  • Champion – Nationwide Tour 1996 Nike South Carolina Classic
  • Champion – Nationwide Tour 1997 Nike Knoxville Open
  • Joined Champions Tour in 2008
  • Champion – 2011 Texas Senior Open
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