Columbus Welcomes Competitive Field for Nebraska Women's Match Play Championship
Stroke Play Qualifying Begins Tuesday at Elks Country Club
COLUMBUS (May 30, 2022) - Elks Country Club in Columbus prepares for an impressive field for the 99th Women’s Match Play Championship this week.
Action begins Tuesday morning with an 18-hole Stroke Play Qualifying round, after which the top 16 will advance to the championship bracket. The Round of 16 begins in the afternoon. Quarterfinals and semifinals are slated for Wednesday, and Thursday brings the 18-hole championship final at 8 a.m.
Several individuals in the 50-player field are no strangers to success in NGA championships, including the defending champion, Kirsten Baete of Beatrice. Baete captured her second NGA title last year, winning at Awarii Dunes Golf Club in Axtell. She had a stellar year for the Huskers this season, earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Baete is paired with two other NGA champions, Katie Ruge of Omaha and Nicole Kolbas of Lincoln, for Tuesday's qualifier.
Ruge won the 2020 Nebraska Women's Match Play, while Kolbas is coming off her first title, the 2021 Nebraska Girls' Amateur Championship. The three champions will start off No. 10 at 9 a.m.
Three-time Nebraska Women’s Amateur Golfer of the Year Danica Badura is also in the field. Badura has won two-straight Nebraska Women's Amateur titles, but is looking for her first Nebraska Women's Match Play trophy. It would complete her trophy case, adding to her Nebraska Girls' Amateur and Nebraska Girls' Match Play trophies as well.
Playing alongside Badura in the qualifier is a couple more NGA champions, including the most-recent, Carrie Bostar of Lincoln, who won the inaugural Nebraska Women's Mid-Amateur last year. They are joined by five-time NGA champion Haley Thiele of Wahoo, and will tee it up at 8:50 a.m. off No. 10. Like Badura, Thiele is looking for a first Nebraska Women's Match Play title to complete her trophy case.With a win, either would become the third player to win all four NGA female championships, joining Hannah Thiele of Wahoo and Danielle Lemek of Doniphan.
Another featured group includes two-time Nebraska Girls' Match Play Champion Megan Whittaker of Elkhorn, 2019 Nebraska Girls' Amateur Champion Kaitlyn Hanna of Omaha, and Sydney Taake of Papillion, who finished runner-up twice in 2021.
All three classes of NSAA girls golf are also represented at this year’s tournament, with the top six finishers this past fall in Class A competing, including Kolbas, back-to-back state champion from Lincoln Pius X. Julia and Emily Karmazin, who finished first and second individually and helped Elkhorn North to a Class B team state title in their inaugural season are also in the field, joined by Cecilia Arndt, Class C individual champion from Columbus Scotus.
Elks Country Club has hosted the Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship twice before, with Stephanie Schaefer winning in her hometown in 2005 and Kerre Dubinsky of Lincoln winning in 1985. Elks is a par-72 course measuring 6,051 yards long for this year’s championship. In addition to the championship competition, the Tournament Division will feature net matches from a shorter set of tees.
Play begins at 8 a.m. for Tuesday's Stroke Play Qualifying Round and each day’s match play. Pairings for qualifying are available on the championship website below, along with the scoring page and additional information.
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.