Malleck vs. Spellerberg in 55th Nebraska Match Play Final
Quarterfinals and Semifinals Conducted Thursday at Riverside Golf Club
GRAND ISLAND (June 23, 2022) – It is York's Reed Malleck versus Bennington's Johnny Spellerberg in the Final for the 55th Nebraska Match Play Championship, after two more rounds of matches on Thursday at Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island.
Both players own a Nebraska Junior Match Play title, a decade apart, but are looking for their first men's title. Malleck won the 2020 Nebraska Junior Match Play at Oakland Golf Club, while Spellerberg won in 2010 at Fremont Golf Club. They'll play in the 36-hole Championship Final starting at 7:30 a.m. on Friday.
Malleck, a current Husker golfer, took down Grand Island's Cade McCallum in the Quarterfinals. It was a back-and-forth match, during which Malleck never trailed. The two players did not tie a single hole over the last eight holes, with Malleck closing out the match with a birdie on No. 18.
Spellerberg faced a tough opponent in his Quarterfinal match, taking on the 2019 Champion Caleb Badura of Aurora. He jumped out to an early 2-up lead on Badura, and also never trailed. Spellerberg, a Creighton alumni, made clutch birdies on Nos. 14 and 17 to regain his lead each time. On No. 18, Badura's eagle putt to force extra holes nearly fell, but Spellerberg stepped up and knocked in a short birdie putt to close out the match, 1 up.
In the Semifinals, Malleck took on Omaha's Matthew Quandt and Spellerberg faced Fordyce's Matthew Schaefer. Malleck won the first hole with a birdie and, once again, never fell behind. Both players birdied No. 7, with Malleck hitting a three-wood over the green and getting up and down, but Quandt answered by rolling in a putt to tie the hole. Malleck hit a great second shot on the par-5 eighth to reach the greenside bunker and hit it close for a conceded birdie to take the lead.
The wind stiffened in the afternoon, and birdies were hard to find. Malleck was able to play steady golf, while Quandt couldn't get enough putts to drop. Malleck won holes No. 15 and 17 with pars to close out the match, 3 and 1.
The other Semifinal was a match of runs. Spellerberg birdied the first two holes to go 2 up, but Schaefer answered with three straight wins to take the lead, 1 up. However, Spellerberg came right back with three-straight birdies to vault himself back to 2 up. The lead reached 3 up twice on the back nine, but Schaefer made a dent with a birdie on No. 14. However, like the other Semifinal, Spellerberg was able to make pars on the next three holes to close out the match, 2 and 1.
The Championship Final begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, with the second 18 holes scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. The updated match play bracket is available on the championship website below, along with 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.