Schaake Makes History Again, Wins Fourth Straight Nebraska Amateur Title
LINCOLN (July 11, 2019) – Omaha’s Alex Schaake had the toughest test of his amateur career, and yet again he came out on top, capturing a fourth straight title and winning the 111th Nebraska Amateur Championship after a seven-hole playoff on Thursday at The Country Club of Lincoln.
The 2016, 2017 and 2018, and now 2019 champion saw his one-stroke lead disappear after just one hole, as Norfolk’s Luke Kluver birdied the opening hole to tie Schaake for the lead at 7-under. However, after Kluver bogeyed the third hole, Schaake held the solo lead until the 17th hole. His final round 71 (-1) left him in a tie with Aurora’s Caleb Badura at 280 (-8), and a playoff ensued. Badura birdied the 17th hole to tie Schaake’s lead, and then lipped out another birdie putt on the 18th hole, to shoot a final round 68 (-4). Schaake followed in the group right behind Badura and made a two-putt birdie as well to regain his lead at 9-under. However, he went on to bogey the 18th hole to cause the playoff.
The playoff went to a rotation of holes No. 1, 2 and 18, and it took more than two times through to settle it. Schaake and Badura both parred the first playoff hole, then birdied the second. A couple more pars on the 18th hole sent the playoff to a fourth hole, and Badura had a 12-foot birdie putt for the win, and just missed it on the low-side. Both players were just short of the par-4 second green in two, but Badura had an awkward stance with his ball just outside the left greenside bunker. Badura hit an incredible shot to six inches, and Schaake answered with his bunker shot to about the same distance.
After the birdies on No. 2, the fifth playoff hole, Badura sailed his approach long of the 18th green, and Schaake’s finished in the middle of the green, about 25 feet from the hole. Badura nearly holed his chip, and Schaake’s birdie attempt finished just right of the hole, with both making par. Finally, on the seventh playoff hole, Schaake’s drive was just short of the green, and Badura decided to layup with an iron, but hooked his tee shot left into the trees. After, a couple punch shots left him on the back of the green, two putts for bogey gave Schaake a chance to two-putt for the win. He did just that to win his fourth consecutive title after a seven-hole playoff. It was tied for the second longest playoff in Nebraska Amateur history, only behind the 10-hole playoff that Dave Maurstad of Beatrice won in 1981.
Though Schaake led through most of the day, several contenders made moves throughout the final round. After seven-straight pars to start the day, Schaake made an eagle-3 on the par-5 eighth hole to stretch his lead to two strokes at 9-under. However, a bogey on the following hole and seven more straight pars let the contenders back into it. Noah Hofman of McCook birdied holes No. 13 and 14, and Kluver made birdie on No. 13, both getting to 7-under, one stroke back. Kluver then went bogey-double-bogey to drop out of contention, while Hofman made bogey on No. 16 and couldn’t drop anymore birdies.
Hofman finished in third place at 282 (-6), after a final round 70 (-2), while Kluver tied for fourth with Lincoln’s Jace Guthmiller, who also shot a 70 (-2) to finish at 283 (-5). Lincoln’s Nate Vontz shot one of 11 rounds under-par during the final round to take sixth place at 286 (-2). Matthew Schaefer of Fordyce and Fernando Arzate of Bellevue tied for seventh at 287 (-1).
Lincoln’s David Easley made a hole-in-one with a 3-wood on the par-4 second hole and shot a 70 (-2) to get into the top 10. He tied for ninth with Husker golfer Tanner Owen at even-par 288. Three-time Champion Andy Sajevic of Omaha was tied for 11th at 290 (+2) with another junior golfer Josh Bartels of Lincoln.
The 2003 and 2004 champion AJ Elgert of Lincoln tied for 14th at 294 (+6), and Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn, the 2002 champion, tied for 25th at 299 (+11). John Sajevic of Fremont, the 1989 champion, finished outside the top 25 for the first time in his career, tying for 41st at 305 (+17).
Full results and more are available on the championship website at the button 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.