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Ruge Rolls at Nebraska Women’s Amateur, Pilkington Takes Senior Amateur

Ruge Rolls at Nebraska Women's Amateur, Pilkington Takes Senior Amateur

Final Round Conducted Thursday at Oak Hills Country Club

OMAHA (June 6, 2024) – Omaha's Katie Ruge rolled to win the 50th Nebraska Women’s Amateur Championship, and Lincoln's Jill Pilkington won the 46th Nebraska Senior Women's Amateur Championship in a playoff at Oak Hills Country Club on Thursday. 

Ruge battled through difficult Final Round conditions to shoot a 75 (+4) and win by eight strokes with a 214 (+1) total. The Kansas Jayhawk posted the second lowest round of the day, and was one of just nine rounds under 80. This is her first Nebraska Women's Amateur title, and third overall NebGolf title. She's the 15th player to win both women's majors, adding this to her 2020 Nebraska Women's Match Play title.

In addition, the Nebraska Women's Amateur is an official USGA Exemption Event, so Ruge has earned an exemption into the 124th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 5-11.

Pilkington made several clutch putts down the stretch to force a playoff with Elkhorn's Miae Hatfield at 164 (+22). Pilkington rolled in a par putt on her final hole to get into the playoff, and eventually won with a par on the third playoff hole for her first title.

Ruge entered the round with an 11-stroke lead and in the windy conditions, she was 3-over through the first six holes. However, she rebounded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to push her lead back to 10, at 2-under.

The back nine was no sweat for Ruge, as she maintained her lead with no one charging. She entered the 54th hole with her lead cut to eight strokes, after Husker golfer Arden Louchheim made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. Ruge hit a bomb off the tee, and her approach found the back bunker, but she calmly played a perfect sand shot to save par and seal the win.

Louchheim took runner-up honors with the round of the day by four strokes, a 71 (E), finishing with a 222 (+9) total. It was the first NebGolf championship for the Husker from Park City, Utah.

Papillion's Kelli Taulbee, who played at the University of South Florida from 2010-12 and recently moved to Nebraska, finished third with a total of 225 (+12). Taulbee had one of the best rounds of the day going after a birdie on No. 16 moved her to 2-over on the day and 10-over for the championship. She eventually finished with a round of 75 (+4).

The defending champion, Husker golfer Miu Takahashi, took fourth with a 227 (+14) total. Omaha's Kaitlyn Hanna, an Iowa Hawkeye, finished fifth at 229 (+16).

Lincoln's Elly Honnens earned Low Junior honors, finishing sixth at 234 (+21). She finished just ahead of two juniors tied for seventh at 236 (+7), Naryn Kim of Lincoln and Julia Karmazin of Omaha, who were tied with Wahoo's Lauren Thiele.

Back on the Senior Amateur side, Pilkington bounced back from a tough start to get back into the mix on the last nine holes. She made some clutch putts with several players in contention, shooting an 84 (+13) to finish at 164 (+22), tied with Hatfield.

Hatfield first took the lead after a chip-in birdie on No. 5, which pushed her to 18-over, taking the lead over Omaha's Nancy Pflug. Hatfield bogeyed the next four holes though, and Pilkington stepped up to the par-3 ninth tied for the lead. Pilkington then made a great up-and-down from the left of the green to force a playoff.

The playoff went to No. 10, and both players made par, followed by a couple of great up-and-downs for par on the difficult 11th. Pilkington placed her tee shot on the green on the par-3 12th though, and Hatfield found the bunker. That proved to be the difference, as Pilkington two-putted for par, and Hatfield missed her par putt, clinching the victory for Pilkington after three playoff holes.

Plfug finished third with a 165 (+23 ) total, while Norfolk's Julia Hall was fourth with a 166 (+24) total. Omaha's Susan Marchese, an eight-time champion and the first round leader, fell to fifth at 167 (+25).

Pilkington also won the 50-57 Age Division, while Hatfield won the 58-64 Age Division and Hall won the 65+ Age Division.

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

Nebraska Women's Amateur Championship

Nebraska Women's Senior Amateur Championship

About NebGolf
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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