Fully Loaded Field Set for 111th Nebraska Amateur
OMAHA (July 6, 2019) - A full field is set for the 111th Nebraska Amateur Championship July 8-11 at The Country Club of Lincoln, and it includes a player who is looking to reach mark only one other person has been able to do since the championship began in 1905.
It will be the 12th time hosting the Nebraska Amateur for the club, which is the fourth-most all-time. Only Omaha Country Club, The Field Club of Omaha and Happy Hollow Club have hosted more times. The Country Club of Lincoln was the first club outside of Omaha to host the championship in 1924 and has been a regular host over the past century, last hosting in 2008 when Lincoln’s Jayson Brueggemann won.
The list of Nebraska Amateur Champions at The Country Club is an impressive one. Omaha’s Johnny Goodman won his first title there in 1929, and Bob Fraser of Omaha won in 1941, the last Amateur before World War II. He also went on to win the first championship post-war in 1946. Lincoln’s Bill Mowbray won the first championship after the switch from match play to stroke play in 1956 at the club. The great Bob Astleford of Omaha won his fourth straight title, and sixth overall, there in 1965. Omaha’s Ryan Vermeer became the youngest, and first junior, to win the championship in 1996, as well.
Omaha’s Alex Schaake was the second junior to win in 2016, when he took his first Nebraska Amateur title at Omaha Country Club. Since then, he has not lost. The Iowa Hawkeye cruised to wins in 2017 and 2018 to join Astleford and Goodman as the only players to win at least three straight. This year, he’ll have a chance to do something only Astleford has accomplished, and at the same venue, win four straight Nebraska Amateur.
Schaake will have to face some tough competition to pull off the feat though. The 2019 Nebraska Match Play Champion Caleb Badura is in the field, and he’ll play alongside Schaake for the first two rounds with another NGA Champion, Travis Minzel of Lincoln. Minzel is a three-time Nebraska Mid-Amateur Champion, including last year, and also won the 2004 Nebraska Match Play. The trio of champions starts at 9:30 a.m. off No. 10 on Monday.
In the group just following them, the 2002 champion Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn is paired with the 2019 Nebraska Match Play runner-up Dan Huston of Omaha, and Cade McCallum of Grand Island. All three were semifinalists at the Match Play, with Huston advancing to face Badura in the final.
A couple of back-to-back groups to watch starting on the opposite side, includes Lincoln’s Jay Moore, Laurel’s Mitchell Klooz and Plainview’s Tucker Knaak at 2:20 p.m. off No. 1 on Monday. Moore is a former Husker football player, while Klooz, the 2012 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion, plays golf at Nebraska, and Knaak, the 2017 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion, plays golf at Creighton. The following group includes two of the top four players in the NGA Player Rankings, and all three are in the top 12. Jace Guthmiller (No. 3) of Lincoln, a Husker golfer, and David Easley (No. 4) of Lincoln, join three-time champion Andy Sajevic (No. 12) of Omaha. Sajevic would move into fourth all-time with a win next week.
The No. 2 ranked player, Luke Kluver of Norfolk, will be playing in his first Nebraska Amateur since 2016, when he finished tied for 21st. The Kansas University commit will play with a couple of college players, Nate Vontz of Lincoln, who plays for Creighton, and Noah Hofman of McCook, who plays for Ottawa University in Arizona. Both players have finished in the top 15 the past couple years, including Hofman’s third place finish in 2017.
Other past champions in the field include Brueggemann (2008), who will play with the 1989 champion John Sajevic of Fremont. Sajevic will have a chance to tie Larry Sock for the all-time record in 36-hole cuts made (34) and consecutive cuts made (20). He’s also just two shy of Astleford in most top five finishes, and he’ll have an eye on his second title, 30 years after his first. The 2003 and 2004 champion A.J. Elgert of Lincoln will also compete.
For more information, including first and second round pairings, visit the championship website at the button 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.