Miller/Spellerberg Go Back-to-Back at Nebraska Four-Ball

Miller/Spellerberg Go Back-to-Back at Nebraska Four-Ball

Final Round Conducted Sunday at Tatanka Golf Club

OMAHA (May 5, 2024) -  Austin Miller of Elkhorn and Johnny Spellerberg of Bennington made clutch putts and won a playoff for back-to-back titles at the 23rd Nebraska Four-Ball Championship on Sunday at Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara.

Miller and Spellerberg started the Final Round three strokes back, but put together a round of 67 (-5) to get into the clubhouse at 132 (-12). The first round leaders, Will Hagel of Omaha and Justin Hamilton of La Vista, finished shortly after with a 70 (-2) to force a playoff.

Last year, it was Spellerberg who caught fire over the final 18 holes to secure the title. This year, Miller followed suit and made a back nine run to give them a chance at just the second repeat in championship history. Bellevue's Adam Cordes and La Vista's Brian Fehr accomplished the feat with the 2013 and 2014 titles.

Conditions on Sunday afternoon were tough, and the front nine saw several teams lose strokes, but not Miller and Spellerberg. They fought the grind to a front nine 35 (-1), with Miller's birdie on No. 5 the only one in the stretch. They still trailed, but not for long, as Miller heated up on the back nine.

Miller made three birdies in four holes on Nos. 11, 13 and 14, and the defending champs had taken the lead at 11-under. They were in trouble on No. 16, but Spellerberg rolled in a clutch 15-foot par putt to maintain the lead.

Meanwhile, Hagel and Hamilton also birdied Nos. 13 and 14, which included a bomb by Hamilton from 30+ feet on No. 13. However, they dropped a shot with a bogey on No. 15. Hagel rebounded though, nearly holing his approach shot into a tricky 16th green, and tapped in for birdie to tie the lead again at 11-under.

Both teams had good looks for birdie on No. 17, but couldn't get the putts to drop. Then the stage was set for Miller on the par-5 18th. He rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt to get to the 12-under mark. Hagel answered though, with a great up-and-down from short of the green for birdie to match and force a playoff.

The playoff went back to No. 18, and again it was Hagel and Miller making birdies. Both players got up-and-down from long and left of the green. So they moved on to No. 10, and with Spellerberg in trouble, Miller stuck his approach shot inside 10 feet. Hagel and Hamilton both had longer birdie putts, and both burned the edge, giving Miller a chance for the win. His birdie putt dropped in on its last roll, securing the back-to-back titles. Hagel and Hamilton finished runner-up, a second-straight year for Hagel.

Elkhorn's Dylan McCabe and Omaha's Matthew Quandt, playing in the final group with Hagel and Hamilton, took the lead around the turn when Quandt made three-straight birdies on Nos. 8-10. That pushed them to 10-under, but they would not make any more birdies, and dropped shots with a bogey on No. 12 and double-bogey on No. 14. The final round 73 (+1) left them tied for third at 137 (-7). The 2017 Champions Dylan Heng of Omaha and Lance Lawson of Norfolk had one of the best rounds of the morning wave, a 67 (-5), to jump into the tie for third at 7-under.

Several teams tied for fifth at 138 (-6), including brothers Brett and Zach Hoffman, who shot the round of the day, a 66 (-6). Two-time Champion Scott Tridle and his partner Mike Leising, both of Lincoln, shot a 67 (-5) to get into the top five. Alex Farrell, 2018 Champion, and Danny Woodhead, both of Elkhorn, also tied for fifth at 6-under. The tie also included Kevin Handzlik of La Vista and Matt Shukis of Omaha, and Mark Carlson and Jonas Christensen of Lincoln.

The 2022 Champions Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn and Blake Giroux of Bennington rounded out the top 10 in a tie for 10th at 139 (-5) with Preston Carbaugh of Cambridge and Andrew Egan of Fremont.

The shot of the day went to Lincoln's Nic Haun, who made a hole-in-one on the 215-yard par-3 eighth hole. Haun hit a four-iron on the shot, which came on the most difficult hole on the course, statistically. No. 8 played to a 3.56 average, and only three birdies were made on the hole.

Final results and more are available on the championship website below.

Nebraska Four-Ball Championship

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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.

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