Huston, Badura to Face-off in Nebraska Match Play Final
OMAHA (June 13, 2019) - A first time champion will be crowned on Friday at the 52nd Nebraska Match Play Championship. The Quarterfinal and Semifinal matches were completed on Thursday at The Players Club in Omaha, and Omaha’s Dan Huston and Aurora’s Caleb Badura survived the day and will face-off in the 36-hole final.
Huston took down the No. 1 seed in the morning, outlasting Husker golfer Tanner Owen in 21 holes. Owen jumped out to a 3 up lead after winning No. 6 with a par, but Huston mounted a comeback late in the round. Owen’s lead was 2 up before Huston won the 14th hole, and both players made a mess of the par-3 16th, but after dropping from the penalty area, Huston chipped in for bogey to tie the match. He won the 17th hole as well to take a 1 up lead, but Owen answered with an eagle-3 on the par-5 18th hole to force extra holes. Both players made par on the first two extra holes, but Huston hit his tee shot to five-feet on the par-3 third hole and made the birdie putt to win the match.
The following semifinal match was a battle of fellow members of The Players Club, and league partner, as Huston took on the 2003 champion Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn. Nietfeldt took an early lead, 2 up after winning the par-3 eighth, but Huston made a charge on the back nine. After trading wins on Nos. 10 and 11, Huston birdied No. 12 and won No. 14 with a par to tie the match. Nietfeldt went long on the par-5 15th and couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie, while Huston hit the green in two and two-putted for his birdie to take the lead. NIetfeldt had a chance to tie the match on No. 17 with a birdie putt, but couldn’t get it to drop. Huston was short of the green in two at the par-5 18th and converted the up-and-down for birdie to close out the match, 1 up.
The second semifinal matched up a couple of former Kansas-Nebraska Junior Cup teammates, in Badura and Grand Island’s Cade McCallum. The two teamed up during the Four-Ball session of the 2017 matches. Badura, who plays for Northwestern College in Iowa, took out the 2013 champion Andy Sajevic of Omaha in the Quarterfinals. Badura held a slim 1 up lead until the back nine, where he hit his approach shot to a foot on No. 10 for a conceded birdie, and then rolled in another birdie on No. 11. He dropped another long putt for birdie on the par-3 13th, but Sajevic answered with a birdie of his own. Sajevic then won the 14th and 15th holes to cut Badura’s lead to 1 up, and just missed a chance to square the match on No. 17. Badura then hit a great second shot on the par-5 18th to the middle of the green, and two-putted for birdie to advance, 2 up.
In the semifinal match, Badura had a great start, winning four of the first six holes to take a 3 up lead. McCallum won the 13th hole to cut into the lead, but Badura answered with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to close out the match, 4 and 2.
Badura and Huston are in the final for the first time and will begin the 36-hole tour of The Players Club at 7 a.m., with the second 18 holes set to begin at 11:30 a.m.
The updated match play bracket is available on the championship website below, along with full results and more.
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.