Vontz, Sajevic to Battle for Nebraska Match Play Title
Quarterfinals and Semifinals Conducted Friday at Wild Horse Golf Club
GOTHENBURG (June 18, 2021) – Lincoln's Nate Vontz and Omaha's Andy Sajevic will face-off in the 36-hole Final of the 54th Nebraska Match Play Championship at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg, after both advanced through the Quarterfinals and Semifinals on Friday.
Vontz, the No. 1 seed, is in his first Final and also looking for his first NGA title. Sajevic, the No. 3 seed and the 2013 Champion, is in the Final for the first time in eight years. With a win, he would have his ninth NGA title, which would put him within one of the all-time record. That record is held by his father, John Sajevic of Fremont, and Omaha's Alex Schaake. Sajevic would also become just the second player to win at least two Nebraska Match Plays and at least two Nebraska Amateurs, joining Larry Sock of Lincoln, who won three of each.
After winning his first two matches on Thursday in just 26 holes, Vontz had to work harder on Friday. He was down for the first time in a match against Bennington's Johnny Spellerberg in the Quarterfinals. Spellerberg took a 1-up lead through 13 holes, but Vontz answered with a birdie on No. 15 to tie the match.
They stayed tied through regulation, and the first extra hole, before both players hit it close on the 478-yard par-4 second hole. Spellerberg's putt just slid by, while Vontz rolled his in from a few feet out to win the match in 20 holes.
Vontz had another tough battle against Aurora's Caleb Badura, the 2019 Champion, in the Semifinals. Badura and Vontz went back-and-forth, tying just three holes on the front nine, with the match staying tied through 12 holes. Vontz made birdie on the par-3 13th hole, but Badura answered with a birdie of his own on the par-5 14th. However, that's when Vontz made his closing move. Two more birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 gave him a 2-up lead, and he closed out the match with a par on the 17th to win, 2 and 1.
Sajevic had a slightly less stressful path to the Final, winning both his matches in 15 holes. His Quarterfinal match was a rematch of the 2013 Final when he won his firs title. He won the first two holes against Norfolk's Lance Lawson, but had to fight off Lawson's play on the par-5s. Lawson birdied No. 3, then holed out for eagle with a wedge on No. 6. Sajevic wasn't fazed though, as he won Nos. 8 and 9 to take a 3-up lead to the back nine. Back-to-back birdies closed the match out for Sajevic, including a putt from off the back of No. 15 green to seal it for a 4-and-3 win.
In the Semifinals, Sajevic had to face former NFL player Danny Woodhead of Elkhorn, who defeated the 2004 Champion Travis Minzel to advance. Sajevic and Woodhead tied the first five holes, but Sajevic would catch fire after that. He rolled in another putt from off the green on No. 6 for eagle, then followed with another Texas Wedge for birdie on No. 7. After nearly making another from off the green on No. 8, Sajevic stuffed his tee shot on the par-3 ninth to a few feet and rolled in another birdie to take a 3-up lead at the turn.
Sajevic added another birdie on No. 10 and rolled in a par-saving putt on No. 11 to push his lead to 5 up. Woodhead birdied the par-5 14th to stay alive, but Sajevic closed out the match with a par on No. 15 to win, 4 and 3.
The 36-hole Final begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the second 18 scheduled for noon. The updated bracket is available on the championship website 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.