Schaefer Surges into 36-hole Lead at Nebraska Amateur
Round Two Conducted Wednesday at Lochland Country Club in Hastings
Photo by Laura Beahm/Hastings Tribune
HASTINGS (July 28, 2021) – It was Matthew Schaefer's show on Wednesday at the 113th Nebraska Amateur Championship, as the Fordyce native opened up a three-stroke lead after the second round at Lochland Country Club in Hastings.
Schaefer posted the low round of the championship and the low round of the day by two strokes. The South Dakota State golfer finished with a 66 (-6) to build a three-stroke lead at 134 (-10). Schaefer's 36-hole total is just one stroke off the championship record, which was set by Lincoln's Steve Friesen the last time Lochland hosted the Nebraska Amateur in 1998. Friesen went on to set the 72-hole scoring record and won by 13 strokes.
Schaefer's lead was six strokes at one point, after the morning wave finished and his next closest competitor was at 4-under. He actually started his round with a bogey, but caught fire soon after. Schaefer birdied No. 4, then made three straight birdies on holes No. 6-8 to move into the lead at 7-under.
On the back nine, Schaefer kept it rolling with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. After a string of pars, Schaefer made a closing birdie on No. 18 to get to double-digits at 10-under.
Omaha's Grant Jabenis is the closest competitor at 137 (-7), three strokes back. He followed his first round 69 (-3) with a 68 (-4) in the second round. Jabenis, who plays for Iowa Western Community College, heated up on his second nine after starting on No. 10 and turning in 36 (E). He rolled in five birdies on the front nine to come home in 32 (-4).
It looked like Schaefer would have a significant lead, but Jabenis birdied three of his last four holes to get within striking distance at 7-under. He was in a similar position last year, as he was inside the top 5 after two rounds and stayed there with a solid finish.
The next closest competitors after Jabenis are six strokes out of the lead at 140 (-4). That includes some talented players though, who have shown potential to go low, including the first round leader, Miles Russell of Omaha. Russell followed his opening round of 67 (-5) with a 73 (+1). After a couple early bogeys, Russell came back with three birdies on his second nine to get back to 4-under.
The reigning Nebraska Match Play Champion Nate Vontz of Lincoln is also six strokes back at 140 (-4). He posted an even-par round of 72. A few other NGA champions are tied for third as well, including the 2020 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion Luke Gutschewski of Elkhorn, the 2020 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion Reed Malleck of York and the 2010 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion Johnny Spellerberg of Bennington. Gutschewski and Malleck shot rounds of 71 (-1) on Wednesday, while Spellerberg posted one of the best rounds of the day, a 68 (-4). Omaha's Charlie Zielinski also shot a 71 (-1) and is in that group at 4-under as well.
Lincoln's David Easley is in ninth at 141 (-3) and there is a two-way tie at 142 (-2) to round out the top 10. Elkhorn's Trevor Gutschewski and Husker golfer Tristan Nelko are both eight strokes back at 2-under. Gutschewski is the second-youngest player in the field at just 14-years-old.
The cut was made at 151 (+7), with 63 players advancing. Included in the players making the cut is Fremont's John Sajevic. He followed his first round 68 (-4) with a 76 (+4) to finish at 144 (E). It's his 36th made cut and 22nd straight, both extending his Nebraska Amateur records. He'll play with his son and the defending champion Andy Sajevic of Omaha during the third round. Andy shot a second-straight round of 72 (E), and will play with his father at 10:27 a.m. on Thursday.
Along with Sajevic, the oldest player in the field at 65, the youngest player in the field also made the cut. Omaha's Tommy Kelley is tied for 43rd at 150 (+6) and will play the final two rounds after turning 14 earlier this month.
The third round begins Thursday at 7 a.m., with play in twosomes off No. 1 tee. The final pairing, Schaefer and Jabenis, are set to tee-off at 11:39 a.m. Full results, third 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.