Thiele Wins Girls' Match Play, Bartels and Gutschewski Set for Boys' Final
AXTELL (June 19, 2019) - After two more rounds of matches on Wednesday, a champion was crowned at the 57th Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Championship and two players are left to play for the title at the 30th Nebraska Junior Match Play Championship at Awarii Dunes Golf Club in Axtell.
A familiar name will be engraved on the Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Championship trophy, as Lauren Thiele of Wahoo joins her sisters Haley and Hannah as a champion. Thiele defeated Omaha’s Jalea Culliver in the Final, 3 and 2 to take her first title, and the fourth for the Thiele family. Haley won in 2013 and 2014, and Hannah won in 2015.
Thiele jumped out to a hot start, with three birdies on the front nine to take a 5 up lead. She birdied holes No. 3, 7 and 9 to build her lead, but Culliver wasn’t going to give up. The South Dakota University commit birdied the par-3 11th to start a string of four straight wins, which cut the lead to 1 up. However, Thiele then won No. 15, when Culliver hit her tee shot into a red penalty area. She closed out the match by winning the 16th hole with a bogey-5.
Thiele, who is just 15-years-old, took down the No. 1 seed Danica Badura of Aurora in the Semifinals, winning 1 up on the 18th green. Culliver defeated North Platte’s Baylee Steele, 3 and 2, to get into the Final.
On the boys’ side, Josh Bartels of Lincoln and Luke Gutschewski of Elkhorn will face-off in the 18-hole Final on Thursday morning. Bartels continued to cruise through the bracket. He’s gone past the 14th hole in just one of his four matches so far. That match was in the Quarterfinals, where he defeated Juniata’s Nolan Sughroue, 3 and 2. He was back on cruise control in the afternoon, taking out Isaac Heimes of Norfolk, 5 and 4, with a birdie on the 14th hole. Heimes had just taken down the No. 1 seed, Reed Malleck of York, with a birdie on the 18th hole to win 1 up.
Gutschewski, son of Web.com Tour Pro Scott Gutschewski, rolled in his morning match, 5 and 3, over Omaha’s Josh Peters. His semifinal match was a bit tougher, as he gained a 3 up lead with a win on the 12th hole, but had to fight off Seward’s Tyler Welch down the stretch. Welch won the 13th with a par, and then hit it close in two on the par-5 14th and rolled in an eagle putt to cut Gutschewski’s lead to 1 up. He had a short birdie putt on No. 17 to tie the match, but couldn’t get it to drop, and Gutschweski closed out the match with a par on the 18th hole to win 1 up.
The boys' Final will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday. The updated match play brackets are available on the championship websites 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.