Vontz is Nebraska Amateur Golfer of the Year
Creighton Bluejay Wins First Award
OMAHA (November 10, 2021) - The Nebraska Golf Association is proud to announce the selection of Lincoln’s Nate Vontz as the 2021 Nebraska Amateur Golfer of the Year.
Vontz, a senior on the Creighton University men’s golf team, put together some incredible performances at the NGA’s championships to earn his first Golfer of the Year award.
The shining moment for Vontz came at the 54th Nebraska Match Play Championship at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg. He opened the championship with a 64 (-8) in the first round of Stroke Play Qualifying, an unofficial record at the championship. His round included eight birdies, an eagle and a double-bogey. Vontz followed that with a 67 (-5) in the second round to earn medalist honors and the No. 1 seed by six strokes with a 131 (-13). Since qualifying was expanded to 36 holes in 2015, Vontz has the lowest total score by four strokes, and the lowest score to par by six.
Vontz did not cool off in match play, cruising to an 8-and-7 win in his first match over Lincoln’s Christian Ghilardi. Vontz was 4-under through 11 holes, then stayed hot against Omaha’s Christopher Atkinson in the Round of 16. He shot 29 (-7) on the front nine to take a 4-up lead, and was 9-under through 15 holes when he closed out the match, 4 and 3.
It was a tough test in the quarterfinals for Vontz, as he trailed against Bennington’s Johnny Spellerberg late, but tied the match on No. 15 with a birdie and won in 20 holes with another birdie. The road didn’t get any easier from there, as Vontz had to face the 2019 Nebraska Match Play Champion, Caleb Badura of Aurora in the semifinals. Vontz birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to take a 2-up lead, and closed out the match 2 and 1.
Another NGA champion awaited Vontz in the final, where he squared up against four-time Nebraska Amateur Champion Andy Sajevic of Omaha. After trailing early in the 36-hole final, Vontz built a 3-up lead, but Sajevic battled back and birdied the 35th hole to cut Vontz’s lead to 1 up with one to play. Sajevic hit his approach on the 18th hole close, but Vontz answered with a shot to just two feet from the hole, which sealed a 1-up victory.
In July, Vontz had a seemingly quiet start to the 113th Nebraska Amateur Championship at Lochland Country Club in Hastings. He opened with a 68 (-4), but followed with a 72 (E) and was six strokes back of the lead after two rounds. Vontz recorded another 68 (-4) in the third round to get within one of the lead. His final round included two eagles, one on the first hole, which vaulted him into the lead. The second eagle came on the 18th hole, where he needed to hole a 20-foot putt to take the clubhouse lead and likely get into playoff. He made the putt to shoot 68 (-4) and finish at 276 (-12), tied with Lincoln’s David Easley, who birdied the 18th shortly after. Vontz nearly holed a long birdie putt for the win on the first playoff hole, but couldn’t repeat the magic on the 18th hole, the second playoff hole, and Easley birdied to take the title.
Vontz is the second player in three years to win the Nebraska Match Play and finish runner-up at the Nebraska Amateur in a playoff. Badura accomplished the same in 2019, and was named the Nebraska Amateur Golfer of the Year that year.
Vontz will be honored at the Nebraska Golf Association's annual awards banquet on Friday, December 3 at The Field Club of Omaha. In addition, the NGA will recognize its Women’s Amateur Golfer of the Year, Girls’ Amateur Golfer of the Year, Junior Amateur Golfer of the Year, and Senior Amateur Golfer of the Year.
For more on the award, link 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.