Gutschewski Forces Extras, Defeats Bartels in 20 Holes
AXTELL (June 20, 2019) - The boys’ final went to extra holes for the first time since 1993, with Elkhorn’s Luke Gutschewski hoisting the trophy at the 30th Nebraska Junior Match Play Championship at Awarii Dunes Golf Club in Axtell on Thursday.
In that 1993 Final, Grand Island's Ryan Nietfeldt defeated Omaha's Mark Wright in 19 holes. This year, Gutschewski took down Josh Bartels of Lincoln in 20 holes, in what was a wild match. He won the second hole of the day, but the two opponents would tie the rest of first six holes. Then the battle begun, and they would tie just two of the next 14 holes.
Bartels rolled in the first birdie of the match, getting up-and-down from behind the par-5 ninth green to tie the match after the first nine. They tied No. 10 with pars, but wouldn’t tie another hole until the first extra hole.
Bartels stuck his tee shot on the par-3 11th hole to about three feet and made another birdie to take his first lead, 1 up. It was short-lived, as most lead were during the match, as he lost his tee shot on the par-5 12th hole and the match was tied again.
After falling behind again on No. 13, Gutschewski rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th to tie the match, yet again. Then on the 225-yard, par-3 15th, Gutschewski hit his tee shot in the native grass to the left and Bartels hit his into he penalty area to the right. Neither ball was found and Bartels won the hole with a double-bogey.
Gutschewski, son of Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com Tour) pro Scott Gutschewski, bounced back with a par on No. 16 to tie the match, but Bartels hit another stellar approach shot on No. 17 and dropped the birdie putt to take a 1 up lead to No. 18.
Both players hit perfect drives on the par-5, and also reached the green in two. Bartels putted first and left his eagle-putt just a few inches out to the right. Then, Gutschewski stepped up to his putt needing to make it to force extra holes, and he drained it.
The players both parred the first extra hole, their second tie since the front nine. Then on the difficult par-3 second hole, Bartels hit his tee shot into the right native grass and took a couple shots to get it on the green. His putt for bogey lipped out, and Gutschewski two-putted his way to the win.
It’s the first NGA title for Gutschewski, though he also captured the NSAA Class B title this spring. The final match play bracket and more is available at the championship website 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.