Strong Field Headed to Axtell for Nebraska Women's Match Play Championship
Stroke Play Qualifying Begins Tuesday at Awarii Dunes Golf Club
AXTELL (May 31, 2021) - An accolade-filled field will tee it up at Awarii Dunes Golf Club in Axtell for the 98th Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship this week.
The championship will begin with an 18-hole Stroke Play Qualifying round on Tuesday, followed by the Round of 16 for the Championship Division later in the afternoon. Match play continues Wednesday with the Quarterfinals and Semifinals. The 18-hole Championship Final is slated to begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday.
The 54-player field is highlighted by the defending champion Katie Ruge of Omaha and three-time NGA Champion Danica Badura of Aurora. Badura made plenty of noise last year winning both the Nebraska Girls' Match Play and Nebraska Girls' Amateur, in addition the Nebraska Women's Amateur.
Ruge and Badura will also be joined by fellow NGA Champion Lauren Thiele of Wahoo. Thiele finished as the runner-up in the championship in 2019 after winning the 2019 Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Championship.
Lauren's older sister, Haley Thiele, will be making another appearance this week. The former Husker golfer won the 2017 and 2019 Nebraska Women’s Amateur Championships. With a win at Awarii Dunes, it would make her the third player to win all four of the NGA's female championships. Haley's sister, Hannah Thiele, and Doniphan's Danielle Lemek are the only players to own Nebraska Women's Amateur, Nebraska Women's Match Play, Nebraska Girls' Amateur and Nebraska Girls' Match Play titles.
Nicole Kolbas of Lincoln will be looking to win her first NGA title, after finishing runner-up in both junior championships last summer. The Lincoln Pius X golfer most recently won the NSAA Class A Individual State Championship last fall, by a impressive 12 strokes.
Omaha’s Kaitlyn Hanna and Jalea Culliver will both look to build on junior success at the women’s level. Hanna won the 2019 Nebraska Girls’ Amateur Championship and 2019 Class A Individual State Championship while Culliver earned runner-up honors at the 2019 Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Championship.
This will be the second time the Nebraska Women's Match Play has taken place at Awarii Dunes. It was the 89th Women's Match Play in 2012 that last saw Awarii host the event with Elizabeth Lydiatt of Kearney winning the title.
Awarii Dunes is a par-72 layout that will measure around 5,920 yards for the championship. In addition to the championship competition, the Tournament Division will feature net matches from a shorter set of tees.
Play begins at 8 a.m. for Monday’s Stroke Play Qualifying Round and each day’s match play. Pairings for qualifying 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.