Atkinson is Nebraska Junior Golfer of the Year
Gretna High School Graduate Wins First Award
OMAHA (November 3, 2021) - The Nebraska Golf Association is proud to announce the selection of Omaha’s Christopher Atkinson as the 2021 Nebraska Junior Amateur Golfer of the Year.
Atkinson, a graduate of Gretna High School, is now competing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha. His win at the Nebraska Junior Match Play fueled him to win the points race and earn his first Golfer of the Year award.
The highlight of the summer for Atkinson came at Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook. He kicked off the 32nd Nebraska Junior Match Play Championship by shooting a 73 (+1) in Stroke Play Qualifying and earned the No. 3 seed. In match play, he survived a tough match against Lincoln’s Geran Sander in the opening round, winning 1 up, and another against the 2018 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion Jason Kolbas of Lincoln in the Round of 16, winning 2 and 1. He won his quarterfinal match, 3 and 2, over Brock Rowley of Lincoln, but faced a two-hole deficit against Doniphan’s Ethan Smith in the semifinals.
Atkinson rallied and won three of the last four holes to take the match, 2 up. He saved his best golf for the final, rolling in five birdies in 14 holes to win 5 and 4 over Omaha’s Connor Steichen, the eventual Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion.
In the 54th Nebraska Junior Amateur Championship at Fremont Golf Club, Atkinson was consistent again, posting rounds of 72 (+1), 74 (+3) and 71 (E) to finish tied for fourth at 217 (+4). He was four strokes behind the champion, Steichen.
Atkinson also competed well in the NGA’s men’s majors, advancing to the bracket at the 54th Nebraska Match Play Championship at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg as the No. 17 seed. His opening match came against the 2020 Nebraska Junior Golfer of the Year, Luke Gutschewski of Elkhorn. Gutschewski was 3 up with three to play, but Atkinson finished birdie-par-birdie to win all three holes and force extra holes, before winning with a par on the 19th hole of the match. He faced an even tougher test in the Round of 16, taking on the No. 1 seed Nate Vontz, who shot 29 (-7) on the front nine and was 4 up at the turn. Atkinson was 5-under in 15 holes during the match, but Vontz was 9-under and took the match, 4 and 3.
Atkinson made the cut at the 113th Nebraska Amateur Championship at Lochland Country Club in July. He posted a final round 70 (-2) to finished tied for 43rd at 298 (+10). In addition, Atkinson won a 2020 Fall Junior Series event, which counts toward the 2021 Points Standings, and was tied for sixth against a strong field at the Midwest Junior Classic at ArborLinks in Nebraska City.
Atkinson will be honored at the Nebraska Golf Association's annual awards banquet on Friday, December 3 at The Field Club of Omaha. In addition, the NGA will recognize its Amateur Golfer of the Year, Women’s Amateur Golfer of the Year, Girls’ Amateur Golfer of the Year and Senior Amateur Golfer of the Year.
For more on the award, link below.
About the NGA
The Nebraska Golf Association, founded in 1966, is comprised of all members of public and private clubs and/or municipal or regional golf associations which utilize an approved handicap service recognized by the USGA and provided by the NGA. Our mission is to uphold and promote the game of golf and its values to all golfers in Nebraska. Among the duties of the Association include governance of member clubs and service as their handicapping and course rating authority, conduct of state golf championships, local USGA qualifying & other notable competitions, promotion of junior golf, presentation of worthwhile educational programs and support of allied golf organizations in Nebraska. The Nebraska Golf Association is an Allied Golf Association of the USGA and carries out core services including Handicap Administration and Oversight, Course Rating, Rules of Golf and Rules of Amateur Status, Tournaments and USGA Championship Qualifiers and USGA Initiatives and Community Programs.