Whittaker Rolls to Nebraska Women's Match Play Title
Championship Final Conducted Thursday at Elks Country Club
COLUMBUS (June 2, 2022) - Megan Whittaker of Elkhorn took home another NGA title on Thursday after defeating Husker teammate Lindsey Thiele of Wahoo, 6 and 5, to win the 99th Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship at Elks Country Club in Columbus.
Whittaker won the Nebraska Girls’ Match Play in 2016 and 2018, but this is the Nebraska fifth-year senior’s first win at a women's championship. She put on a show this week, shooting a 71 (-1) to earn co-medalist honors in Stroke Play Qualifying with Nicole Kolbas of Lincoln. Whittaker, the No. 2 seed, then won two of her next three matches 6 and 5, and defeated Papillion’s Sydney Taake 3 and 2 to advance to the finals.
There was no hesitation in Whittaker’s game during Thursday morning's 18-hole final. She won the first two holes to gain a quick 2-up lead. After an errant tee shot found the trees on No. 1 and putting struggles on No. 2 , Thiele found her balance and won the par-5 third hole with a two-putt birdie.
On the par-5 sixth hole, Whittaker wedged her third shot close and dropped a birdie putt from 10 feet to go 3 up. Then, she followed that up with another birdie on No. 7 to separate herself from Thiele with a 4-up lead. Whittaker was comfortable on the greens all day, taking advantage of almost every birdie opportunity.
Thiele made a push late on the front nine, with a clutch par on No. 8 and a monster drive on No. 9 to set up an easy par to win and cut the lead to 3 up at the turn.
Despite Thiele having momentum at the turn, Whittaker was unstoppable. Whittaker was able to keep pace with Thiele, who is known for her long drives. On No. 10, Whittaker two-putted for par to win another hole. On the par-3 11th, Whittaker had another birdie look and couldn’t convert the putt, but still won the hole after Thiele came up short and made bogey.
Thiele had major ground to make up, sitting 5 down with seven holes to play. She hit another long drive and nearly made birdie, and Whittaker tied her with a par. On No. 13, Thiele tried to make something happen and went for the green in two, but her shot went left of the green next to a row of bushes. Her par putt eventually slid by, and Whittaker slammed the door shut with yet another birdie.
It was the third match that Whittaker closed out in just 13 holes. In her four matches, she played just 55 of a possible 72 holes.
In the Founder’s Flight, Harley Hiltibrand of Brule defeated Izabella Pesicka of Omaha 5 and 4. Alysen Sander of Lincoln defeated her twin sister Aidan, 5 and 4, for the Flight 1 crown.
In the Tournament Division, Donna Utecht of Norfolk overcame Patty Meister of Fremont in 20 holes to win Flight 2, and the Flight 3 winner was Kathy Garrelts of Kearney, who defeated Elayna Boose of La Vista, 1 up, to win for the second-straight year.
Visit the website below for more information, including final results.
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.