Peters Breaks Through with Win at Nebraska Junior Amateur
BEATRICE (July 25, 2019) – It was a breakthrough win for Omaha’s Josh Peters, as he kept the field at bay with his putter on the way to winning the 52nd Nebraska Junior Amateur Championship at Beatrice Country Club on Thursday.
Peters posted a final round 74 (+2) to win his first NGA title by two strokes, with a 216 (E) total. The UNO commit finished in the top 10 each of the previous three years, including a tie for runner-up honors in 2018, but it was nothing but gold in 2019. Peters entered the day with a two-stroke lead, but nearly saw it slip away early with three bogeys on his first five holes. Others were struggling as well though, and he maintained the lead and held it throughout the day. He earned one of those strokes back with a birdie on the par-5 ninth, but dropped it again with a bogey on No. 10.
It was a wild ride on the greens for Peters, who struggled with his lag putting, but he kept knocking down mid-range putts for par to maintain his lead. He made back-to-back clutch putts for par on Nos. 14 and 15, with several other contenders making a run at his lead. Peters then made a crucial birdie on the par-5 16th hole to maintain his two-stroke lead, with others rolling in birdies in front of him. He went to the 18th tee with that lead, but his drive found the right trees. However, as he did all day, Peters used his short game to save par, getting up-and-down from just short and left of the green to seal the victory.
Elkhorn’s Luke Gutschewski started the day four strokes back, but put together another steady round and gave himself a chance at a sweep of the NGA junior championships. The 2019 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion made a birdie on No. 16 ahead of Peters to get within a stroke, before Peters made his birdie. Then Gutschewski nearly holed his approach shot on No. 18, but missed a birdie putt from about seven feet and finished at 218 (+2), after a final round 72 (E), for runner-up honors.
York’s Reed Malleck was paired with Peters, and battled back after a triple-bogey on the opening hole. He came inches away from an ace on the par-3 15th hole, made birdie, and then hit is drive in the greenside bunker on the 309-yard par-4 17th hole and got up-and-down for another birdie. That gave him a chance to put some pressure on Peters on the 18th hole, but his approach missed right and he couldn’t hole the chip and finished with a bogey. That gave him a final round 75 (+3) and a third-place finish at 219 (+3).
The Nebraska Junior Match Play Runner-up, Josh Bartels of Lincoln, was another player who made a run. Bartels started hot with two birdies in his first three holes, but he called a penalty on himself after accidentally grounding his club behind his ball in a bunker on No. 9, costing him two strokes. However, he chipped in for double-bogey, and then went on a late tear on the back nine. Bartels, who qualified and advanced to match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur earlier this month, made three straight birdies on holes No. 15, 16 and 17 to give himself a chance. However, a bogey on the 18th hole gave him a final round 72 (E), and he finished fourth at 220 (+4). Bartels is also a UNO commit, and will room with Peters this year.
Lincoln’s Connor Vandewege finished fifth with a 221 (+5) total, while Charlie Zielinski of Omaha and Jake Kluver of Norfolk tied for sixth at 223 (+7). Cambridge’s Preston Carbaugh, the NSAA Class C Champion, was eighth with a 225 (+9) total, and Grand Island’s Marcus Eriksen finished with a 226 (+10), good enough for ninth. Isaac Heimes of Norfolk played his way into the top 10 with a round of 73 (+1), which gave him a 227 (+11) total and a 10th place finish.
Full results and more can be found on 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.