David Easley claims 113th Nebraska State Amateur Crown
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - For four straight days, the temperatures were high, but the scores still went low at the 113th Nebraska State Amateur.
The golf hit a fever pitch for the final round Friday over at Lochland Country Club in Hastings. After a record-breaking -9 round three, Aurora’s Caleb Badura struggled all day on Friday. On the 16th, he missed the green in regulation and had a chip roll well past the hole. However, he was still able to sink the comebacker putt to save par.
Then on 18, Badura had a long birdie look, but he came up just off the mark again which summarized his round. He ended the final round at +4, pushing him back to a -5 finish overall to tie for 9th.
Meanwhile, Omaha’s Grant Jabenis had some flashes today, with the 16th hole being one of them. He found the bottom of the cup for birdie and ended up +2 on the day and -3 for the tournament to finish in a tie for 10th.
Then, it became a two horse race in the final two holes between David Easley and Nate Vontz, both from Lincoln.
Easley had bogeyed the 17th to drop to -11, but Vontz walked up to the 18th green with an eagle putt coming up, and it was a putt he made in dramatic fashion to finish the tournament at -12.
That meant Easley needed a short memory from the bogey on 17 and a good wedge shot on 18 after he missed the green in regulation. Easley eventually cozied up a pitch from off the green and converted his birdie to also finish the tournament at -12 and force some playoff golf in Hastings.
They started on the 17th, where Vontz had a birdie putt seemingly from the Kansas border on the long 17th green, but he cozied it up nicely just inches from the hole to save par. However, it gave Easley a putt to win the event from about 15-feet underneath the hole, but Easley rolled it left of the cup so to the 18th they went.
Both Vontz and Easley had great looks at birdie, but Vontz’s was from just off the green. His birdie putt from the fringe was just off the mark, once again opening a window for Easley to make birdie and win the tournament.
This time around, Easley didn’t blink twice.
He drained his birdie putt and just stood up straight almost in happy form of exhaustion after winning the 113th Nebraska State Amateur. He spoke with Local4 after the historical win.
“You know, I played in this thing in 1998 when Friesen was shattering records while I was a senior in high school,and that was actually my first State Am, so to come back and do it was great.”
As for spending his last four days in Hastings and playing the challenging track at Lochland Country Club, Easley couldn’t say enough nice things about the experience.
“This is as good of a course, especially for small-town Nebraska,” Easley said. “Great course in great condition, allows you a lot of birdies. Super fun to play - there’s not a better venue for the State Am than this. It was a blast.”
Here’s a look at the final leaderboard.
|1||David Easley (Lincoln)||-12||276|
|2||Nate Vontz (Lincoln)||-12||276|
|3||Tristan Nelko (Lincoln)||-11||277|
|4||Matthew Schaefer (Fordyce)||-10||278|
|T-5||Vance Janssen (Blair)||-9||279|
|T-5||Johnny Spellerberg (Bennington)||-9||279|
|7||Luke Gutschewski (Elkhorn)||-8||280|
|8||Charlie Zielinski (Omaha)||-6||282|
|9||Caleb Badura (Aurora)||-5||283|
|T-10||Grant Jabenis (Omaha)||-3||285|
Copyright 2021 KSNB. All rights reserved.