Russell Takes First Round Lead at 113th Nebraska Amateur
Round One Conducted Tuesday at Lochland Country Club in Hastings
HASTINGS (July 27, 2021) – There were several red numbers during the first round of the the 113th Nebraska Amateur Championship, but Omaha's Miles Russell went lower than anyone to take the lead at Lochland Country Club in Hastings on Tuesday.
Russell put together the round of the day, a 67 (-5), to vault himself into the lead ahead of a talented leaderboard. The former Omaha Maverick played the par-5s in 5-under, birdieing all five. He added a birdie on No. 14, and his only blemish was a bogey on the par-3 eighth.
Playing in one of the last groups of the day, Russell nearly holed a long eagle putt on No. 18, and tapped in for his birdie to secure the lead. He's looking for his first NGA title.
The group one-stroke behind Russell includes some decorated players, including the 1989 Champion, John Sajevic of Fremont, and the 2021 Nebraska Match Play Champion, Nate Vontz of Lincoln.
Sajevic, Vontz and Fordyce's Matthew Schaefer each posted rounds of 68 (-4). It's a return to the place he won his 1989 title for Sajevic, who turned 65 in May. He's the oldest player in the field by 10 years, and is tied for the lead 32 years after winning his lone Nebraska Amateur title.
Vontz, who put on an incredible performance last month to win the Nebraska Match Play Championship, is looking to become the seventh player to sweep the NGA's majors in one summer. He would also be the third player complete the feat at Lochland, joining Sajevic in 1989 and Lincoln's Steve Friesen in 1998.
Schaefer, who plays for South Dakota State University, has a couple top 10s in the Nebraska Amateur under his belt, but is still looking for his first title. He made the turn in 36 (E), but caught fire on his second nine (the front nine at Lochland). Three straight birdies on holes No. 2-4 moved him within a stroke of the lead. Schaefer added another birdie on the par-5 seventh to get to 4-under.
Sajevic had just one blemish on his scorecard too, as he made five birdies and one bogey. He played the par-5s in 2-under. Vontz caught fire right away, picking up where he left off a month ago at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg. Starting on the back nine, he made the turn in 32 (-4), but stumbled a bit on the front. He followed back-to-back bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole, then closed with two birdies in his last three holes to make up for two more bogeys.
A large group is tied for fifth at 69 (-3), two strokes back. That group includes Omaha's Grant Jabenis, who held the first round lead last year, Lincoln's Scott Tridle, Omaha's Charlie Zielinski and the 2020 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion Reed Malleck of York. Also in that tie at 3-under, are brothers Luke and Trevor Gutschewski of Elkhorn. Luke, the oldest sibling, is a two-time NGA champion, while Trevor is the second-youngest player in the field at just 14-years-old.
Omaha's Andy Sajevic, the defending champion, tied for 17th at 72 (E). The only other past champion in the field, Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn, is tied for 32nd at 74 (+2).
The second round begins Wednesday at 8 a.m., after which the field will be cut to the low 60 scores and ties for Thursday and Friday's rounds. Full results, second round pairings and more are available on the championship website.
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.