Smith Triumphs at Nebraska Senior Match Play
Semifinals and Final Conducted Wednesday at York Country Club
YORK (September 16, 2020) - It was a triumphant victory for Omaha's Kirby Smith at York Country Club on Wednesday, as he defeated Bennington's Steve Buroker in the Final of the 10th Nebraska Senior Match Play Championship.
Smith made the Quarterfinals the past two years, but was able to fight through until the end and capture his first title this year. Three of his four matches went to the 18th hole, and the other ended on the 17th hole. Smith closed out Buroker on that par-4 18th hole in the Final to win, 1 up.
The Final was the only match that Smith did not trail in. He rolled in a 15-f00t birdie putt on the par-5 third hole to take a 1-up lead on Buroker. Another win on No. 5 came with a par, pushing the lead to 2 up, but Buroker took one back with a par on the par-4 eighth hole.
Smith hit a great recovery shot from the trees on No. 10, which settled about 15-feet from the hole. He two-putted to push his lead back to 2 up. Buroker again cut it to a 1-up lead, after Smith found some tree trouble on the par-5 13th hole. However, Smith bounced back with a birdie on the par-3 14th to win the hole.
Buroker won holes No. 16 and 17 with pars to tie the match going into the 18th hole again. His drive caught the trees on the left, while Smith was in the right rough with a clear shot at the green. Buroker hit the front of the green with his third shot, and missed his par putt. Smith just needed two putts from the same portion of the green, and knocked in his par putt from about six feet to seal the title.
In his only match that didn't go to No. 18, Smith took down the defending champion Ed Wyatt of Lincoln in the Semifinals, 2 and 1. Wyatt won the first two holes of the match, but Smith battled back to take a 2-up lead into No. 16. Wyatt stuck his tee shot close on the par-3 and won the hole to extend the match another hole. However, Smith closed it out with a par on the 17th hole to advance to the Final.
In the other Semifinal, Buroker took down the No. 1 seed John Sajevic of Fremont. Buroker won three straight holes on the front nine to take a 3-up lead, but Sajevic fought back after he trailed by that same margin after 15 holes. Sajevic won the 16th and 17th holes with pars, forcing the match to the 18th hole. He rolled in a long distance birdie putt, but Buroker hit his approach shot to six feet and answered with a birdie of his own to win the match, 1 up.
In the President's Bracket, Elkhorn's Cory Shaw won the Final, 6 and 5, over Sidney's Jeff Smith.
In the Astleford Bracket of the Net Division, Bellevue's Colin Beal defeated Lincoln's Bert Newell, 2 and 1.
The final brackets are available on the championship website below, along with the scoring page and additional information.
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.