Jimmies' Jackson Worner trying to finish golf career on top

Apr. 30—JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown golf career of Jackson Worner is winding down after five years.

Worner and his teammates finished the two-day GPAC men's golf championships on April 30.

Ahead of the GPAC tournament, Worner said he wasn't planning on making a lot of changes to his game.

"If anything I'm gonna try to drive the golf ball a bit better, the golf course we're playing is a bit tight," Worner said. "So you gotta be in the fairway more often than not ... but fine tuning that is gonna be huge, just being able to find the fairway, give myself short irons in versus having to lay back, is gonna give us and my team a big advantage. Especially if we can all drive the ball well but specifically hitting the ball in the fairway with the driver is huge."

As he prepared for this season, Worner said his goals were to help the Jimmies win the GPAC.

"We want to push each other every day and hopefully success comes out and we win a GPAC conference title at the end," Worner said. "That's been our ultimate goal from day one once we stepped on campus in the fall."

This season, Worner has two first-place finishes and six top-five finishes. His lowest score of the season came in the VCSU Invitational where he finished at five-under-par, winning the event by six strokes.

"Personally, it started out in the fall a bit slow, it wasn't as good as I wanted. But, with all the work over the winter months and with the teammates having the drive to push each other to be better, this spring has been really really good," Worner said. "My scores have shown improvement. It's nice having a group of guys that are so close together that want everybody to do good where the competition within the team is honestly like playing against competition on the outside because we're all so good."

Worner has two GPAC All-Conference honors and two GCAA Academic All-American selections during his time as a Jimmie. He was named to the GPAC All-Conference first team for the 2022-23 season and as an honorable mention in the 2020-21 season.

Worner is in a multi-way tie for third-lowest score in an 18-hole tournament in program history with a 68. He has also found his way onto the leaderboards for the Jimmies for the lowest score in a 36-hole tournament with ties for the third- and fourth-lowest scores in program history, a 141 and 142, respectively. The Fargo native scored a 218 at the Yellowjacket Fall Invite in 2023, putting him in a tie for the fifth-lowest score in a 54-hole tournament in program history.

"At the end of the day, records are nice to have but the only record I want to have is putting my name up on a banner," Worner said. "That's why I also came back for my fifth year because we're more experienced and that banner in the weight room means a lot more to me than having school records personally. I love these group of guys, they're awesome people and I want to finish it with a bang with these guys."

Worner said he has been happy with his putting recently, which has allowed him to concentrate more on the other parts of his game.

Worner said interim head coach Dustin Jensen has helped him believe in himself more and help them stay positive and mentally tough.

Worner is not the only member of his family to be in the program as his sister, Tori, is a freshman on the women's golf team. Worner said his sister was not sure she wanted to play golf competitively in college but played in the fall and has become more competitive as the meets have gone on.

"We're very competitive," Worner said. "Since she came into college, she was on the fence on competitive and then she ended up playing in the fall showcase that (former head coach) Zach (Hale) put on and as a brother watching her play in that, her competitive edge really came out. We've been very competitive but now she sees what's ahead of her. She's known how good I've played and I think I've set a good example for her. I think the competitive edge is gonna come out a bit more."

He said that he thinks his sister has the potential to be one of the best golfers in program history. Worner said he gives his sister advice on how to navigate certain courses if he has played on them before.

Recently, Worner's parents, Tammy and Leo donated $250,000 to the University of Jamestown for a new golf facility on campus. Worner said he believes the new facility will help the returning golfers and the future Jimmies.

When he graduates, Worner said he is hoping to continue playing the sport he loves.

"The goal is to make a career out of it," Worner said. "That's what I want to do after college. I love it. I'm ride or die with it, it's my passion. I wear on it my sleeve. You can read me like a book when I'm on the golf course, whether I'm happy, sad, more often than not, I'm very happy because it's peaceful outside and what's there better to do than be on a nice, warm, sunny day playing a round of golf with your friends."