Field Set for Nebraska Girls' & Junior Match Play
OMAHA (June 11, 2020) - The field is set for the first championship of the 2020 season, with 140 players set to compete in the 58th Nebraska Girls' Match Play Championship and the 31st Nebraska Junior Match Play Championship at Oakland Golf Club next week.
The championships begin Tuesday with 18-holes of Stroke Play Qualifying, where 38 girls will battle for 16 spots in the match play bracket, and the 102 boys will play for 32 spots. Match play begins on Wednesday, with the Girls' Final scheduled for Thursday afternoon and the Boys' Final for Friday morning.
A strong field will compete for the title, including both defending champions. Wahoo's Lauren Thiele is back on the girls' side to try for the repeat. Last year, she joined her sisters Haley (2013 & 2014) and Hannah (2015) as a champion, winning the title at Awarii Dunes Golf Club in Axtell. She'll try to become the fourth player to win multiple titles.
On the boys' side, Elkhorn's Luke Gutschewski is back to defend, after winning in thrilling fashion last year at Awarii Dunes. Gutschewski trailed in the final going to the par-5 18th hole, but sank an eagle-putt to extend the match, eventually winning on the second extra hole.
Both champions will face some stiff competition in Oakland. Among the contenders is Aurora's Danica Badura, the 2019 Nebraska Girls' Golfer of the Year. Badura will be looking for her first NGA title, but is coming off a strong campaign last season that included a round of 68 (-4) that earned her qualifying medalist honors at this championship last year.
Seven of the top 10 from the 2019 NGA Girls' Point Standings will compete, including North Platte's Baylee Steele, Omaha's Emily Karmazin, Lincoln's Nicole Kolbas, Omaha's Katie Ruge and Wahoo's Lindsey Thiele, Lauren's older sister.
One other past NGA champion will compete on the boys' side, the 2018 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion Jason Kolbas of Lincoln. Kolbas missed much of last year with injuries, but is back and looking to have another stellar year.
Kolbas and Gutschewski are paired with York's Reed Malleck for the qualifying round. Malleck and Gutschewski are two of five members of the 2019 Kansas-Nebraska Junior Cup team that will be competing next week. Isaac Heimes and Jake Kluver of Norfolk and Charlie Zielinski of Omaha are also in the field and looking to contend. Heimes reached the semifinals last year, before falling to Lincoln's Josh Bartels. Malleck and Oakland's Ian Lundquist both made the quarterfinals last year.
Oakland Golf Club last hosted the Nebraska Junior Match Play in 2011, when Omaha's Alex Totusek won. This will be the first time the club has hosted the Nebraska Girls' Match Play. Groupings and starting times for Tuesday's Stroke Play Qualifying round are available under the Pairings tab of the championship websites 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.