Nebraska Match Play: Quarterfinals set

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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GOTHENBURG , Neb. (KOLN) - The first two rounds of matches were completed and eight players remain at the 54th Nebraska Match Play Championship at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg, including the No. 1 seed Nate Vontz of Lincoln, who has not cooled off.

Vontz won the first seven holes of his Round of 32 match against Christian Ghilardi of Lincoln. He added a birdie on No. 10 to go 8 up, and closed out the match on No. 11 with a par to win, 8 and 7. He made four birdies and seven pars over the 11 holes.

In his Round of 16 match, Vontz played his best golf yet. He eagled both par-5s on the front nine, and made three other birdies to make the turn in 29 (-7). His opponent, Christopher Atkinson of Omaha, played the same nine holes in 33 (-3), and Vontz still held a 4-up lead at the turn. Atkinson made three more birdies on the back nine to push the match to No. 15, but Vontz put his tee shot on the short par 4 just off the green and two-putted for yet another birdie to close out the match, 4 and 3. Vontz was nine-under over the 14 holes.

Bennington’s Johnny Spellerberg will take on Vontz in the Quarterfinals. Spellerberg won his two matches 5 and 3 over Jack Tickle of Omaha and 2 and 1 over Vance Janssen of Blair.

In the next Quarterfinal, Omaha’s Grant Jabenis will face the 2019 Champion Caleb Badura of Aurora. Badura survived in 19 holes in his Round of 32 match, making a birdie on No. 1 to defeat Creighton golfer Jackson Thompson. He made quick work of his afternoon match though, defeating Kearney’s Cole Feddersen, 5 and 3.

Lincoln’s Travis Minzel, the 2004 Champion, and Elkhorn’s Danny Woodhead will square up. Both players won 1 up on the 18th hole in their Round of 16 matches. Minzel took a 1-up lead on No. 17 and then closed out his match with a par on No. 18 to defeat Ty Heimes of Battle Creek. Woodhead made a clutch par putt on No. 17 and rolled in a birdie putt on the last hole to defeat Lincoln’s David Easley, who was in tight for a birdie attempt himself.

The final Quarterfinal matchup is a rematch of the 2013 Nebraska Match Play Final. Omaha’s Andy Sajevic and Norfolk’s Lance Lawson faced each other eight years ago at Elks Country Club in Columbus. Sajevic won that match 4 and 2 to claim his only Nebraska Match Play title.

Sajevic made it through the longest match of the day in the Round of 32, defeating Omaha’s Colton Stock in 21 holes. Lawson also had a tough match in the morning, winning 1 up over Preston Carbaugh of Cambridge. Both players closed out their afternoon matches with birdies. Sajevic won 4 and 2 over Mason Hale of Atkinson, while Lawson won 4 and 3 over Brad Rowe of Omaha.

Quarterfinal matches begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, followed by the Semifinals in the afternoon. The updated bracket is available on the championship website below.

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