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GCRO: Hoefle Still In the Chase After Round Two

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MARION Bill Hoefle is not your ordinary high school teacher.

While many are squeezing in one more vacation or simply preparing for a return to the classroom, Hoefle is sharing a lesson of his own. Linn-Mar golfers might want to take notes.

The Lions golf coach proved he is competitive against a professional field, ranking among the leaders of the Greater Cedar Rapids Open after Saturday's second round at Hunters Ridge Golf Course. Hoefle shot a 1-over 73, giving him a two-round total of 139 and sitting in a three-way tie for third two shots back of co-leaders Chris Baker, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Jeff Kellen, Rockford, Ill.

The 43-year-old Business Education teacher at Linn-Mar carded five birdies and nothing higher than a bogey after firing a 6-under 66 on Friday. Hoefle said it is a time to practice like his life depends on it, but play like he doesn't care.

"I'm still in the tournament and have a chance tomorrow," Hoefle said. "I'll have to play like I did (Friday). I'm looking forward to it."

Hoefle started with par on No. 10, dropping to 2-under quickly after the 12. He jumped to 1-over after three straight bogeys, earning a birdie on the par-5 17th hitting the turn even.

After the turn, he was two over before a birdie on the final hole. He said he had the "lefts" and couldn't keep from pulling the ball, finding water at least twice. Hoefle was disappointed with

"I hit some bad shots," Hoefle said with a laugh. "I would never want my kids to watch what I did (Saturday)."

Hoefle was promoted from assistant to head coach recently, taking over for Steve Kahler, who retired from coaching and teaching at the end of the school year. He provides a great example and lesson for the Lions golfers.

"I'm hoping they can see you can get better and still play competitively," Hoefle said. "It's something you can do your whole life."

It is something he has been able to share with his dad, Bill Hoefle Sr., who served as his caddy Saturday. Bill Hoefle senior enjoys the role whenever he gets the chance.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "I have a lot of pride in him."

The father-son duo shares a strong bond. It has been strengthened by time on the course. It will continue into Sunday's third and final round.

"It started since he was young," Bill Hoefle Sr. said. "We went out and played together.

"More so than on the course, it was just all the travel."

The success shouldn't come as a surprise. The former Ames state champion was a two-time academic All-American for Oklahoma State in 1992 and 1993.

Hoefle played for a living, competing in Hooters and Nike Tours. He even played in a PGA event. He gave that up as a full-time pursuit, joking that his wife, Mary, persuaded him to get a "real" job. He became a financial broker for four years, switching to a career in education like his father, who teaches veterinary medicine at Iowa State University.

Hoefle said he remembers being one of those players chasing down the golf dream and likes spending time with them.

"That part I really enjoyed," said Hoefle, who passed on the Waterloo Open to attend his 25th high school reunion. "Once in a while I play good. I don't ever play terribly, but once in a while I'll have a round like I did (Friday).

Some dates are still saved for professional dates.

"Every year I try to play in the U.S. Open qualifier I've been fortunate enough to make the second part of it," Hoefle said. "I haven't quite made to play in (U.S. Open) yet, but I've done all right."

Hoefle's group, which included Tim Matthews and Peter Kindstrom, had about 20-25 spectators following the threesome. He had some special fans for Friday's low round.

"I had former players out to watch the whole round," Hoefle said. "It's kind of near to have them watch."

No matter what his finish at the GCRO, 2013 has been a memorable year. In addition to being promoted to Lions head golf coach, Hoefle was one of only four inducted into the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Players Hall of Fame.

"It's been a nice year," Hoefle said.

Baker and Kellen have posted similar scores, shooting 68 on Saturday. Baker was steady with four birdies and no bogeys. Kellen mastered longer holes, scoring eagles on the par-5 second and par-5 12th.

Former West Branch state champion Sean McCarty, of Solon, remained in the hunt. He shot an even par 72 for a two-round total of 140. McCarty, who started out 4-under through six and birdied the No. 9 hole, is tied for sixth with seven others.

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