Miller and Spellerberg Take Nebraska Four-Ball
Final Round Conducted Sunday at Tatanka Golf Club
NIOBRARA (May 7, 2022) - Former Creighton University teammates, Austin Miller of Elkhorn and Johnny Spellerberg of Bennington took off during the final round on Sunday to win the 22nd Nebraska Four-Ball Championship at Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara.
Miller and Spellerberg posted a final round 64 (-8) to win by two strokes with a 130 (-14) total. It's the first title for Miller, who just regained his amateur status in February after a playing professionally until 2019. Spellerberg captured his fourth NebGolf trophy in 21 months, adding to his two Nebraska Mid-Amateur titles and the 2022 Nebraska Match Play title.
The Champions started the day a stroke behind the leaders, Kevin Handzlik of La Vista and Matt Shukis of Omaha, but didn't take long to move into the lead. Handzlik and Shukis started hot with two birdies in the first three holes to get to 9-under, but after two opening pars, Miller and Spellerberg rattled off three straight birdies to also get to 9-under. Miller birdied No. 3 and Spellerberg followed with birdies on Nos. 5 and 6.
Spellerberg dropped two more birdies on the front nine, on the par-4 seventh and the par-5 ninth, to move the duo to 11-under and in sole possession of the lead. A host of teams were close behind, including the side in the same group, Lincoln's Jay Moore and Travis Minzel. Minzel birdied No. 9 as well to get them to 10-under, one back, after a front nine 32 (-4).
The father-son team of John and Andy Sajevic were also making a move in the group behind, with John making an improbable birdie putt from the top tier on No. 9 to get them into double digits at 10-under. Spellerberg kept his foot on the gas though, and made another birdie on No. 10 to get to his team to 12-under.
The Sajevics put the pressure on though, with Andy rolling in a lengthy birdie on the par-5 13th and John wedging it close on the short par-4 15th for a tap-in birdie. They had tied the lead with three holes to play, but Spellerberg answered with another big birdie putt on No. 16 to give him and Miller the lead again at 13-under.
Meanwhile, Omaha's Will Hagel and Bradley Huyck were on fire on the other side of the golf course, after starting their round on No. 10. Hagel made an eagle on No. 9 to close out a front nine 30 (-6), and a round of 62 (-10). It's tied for the second-lowest score in championship history, and gave them the clubhouse lead at 12-under.
Knowing a birdie on the par-5 18th hole would likely secure the win, Miller and Spellerberg took aim. Spellerberg converted an up-and-down from just short of the green for his seventh birdie of the day and move them to 14-under, two clear of the next team.
The Sajevics needed an eagle on the final hole, but settled for par and finished in a tie for runner-up honors at 132 (-12) along with Hagel and Huyck.
Lincoln's Mike Leising and Scott Tridle put together a low round on the other side of the golf course too, posting a 65 (-7) to finish in a tie for fourth with Nate Mishou of Kearney and Logan Wirth of Omaha at 133 (-11). Lincoln's Patrick Clare and Omaha's Tristan Nelko carded the second-lowest round of the day, and didn't even beat the team they were playing with, Hagel and Huyck. Clare and Nelko shot a 64 (-8) to vault into a tie for sixth at 134 (-10). The first round leaders, Handzlik and Shukis, also finished at 10-under, following a final round 69 (-3), as did Dakota City's Will Andersen and South Sioux City's Christopher Rager.
Minzel and Moore shot 69 (-3) to tie for ninth at 135 (-9), along with three-time champions David Easley of Lincoln and Joel Wisdom of Omaha. Also in the tie for ninth was Bennington's William Amundsen and Gretna's Brian Csipkes, as well as Brett Hoffman of Kearney and Zach Hoffman of Omaha.
Final results and more are available on the championship website below.
Nebraska Four-Ball Championship
The Nebraska Golf Association (NebGolf), 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 NebGolf. 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.