For full results of the final match, use the link below
ROLAND, ARK. (Sunday, Aug. 4) – The championship match of the 111th Western Amateur between Sean Dale and Jordan Niebrugge was suspended at 5:40 p.m. Sunday because of threatening weather, with the match all square through eight holes.
When play was suspended for the day at 7 p.m., both players had hit their approach shots to the ninth green in the second day of match play at The Alotian Club outside Little Rock.
Nearby lightning strikes prompted tournament officials to clear volunteers and spectators from the golf course as a safety measure, according to Vince Pellegrino, vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association. Play was scheduled to resume at 7 a.m. Monday, with no patrons or volunteers on the golf course.
“It’s disappointing from the perspective of patrons, volunteers and everyone who would like to have seen the conclusion of a great match and the awarding of our championship trophy,” Pellegrino said. “We acted out of concern for people’s safety.
“But the suspension of play will do nothing to diminish the significance of the Western Amateur championship to the player who wins it,” he said. This marks the first time since 2007 that the Western Amateur will conclude on a Monday. Jhared Hack won that event at Point ‘O Woods Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich.
In the morning semifinal matches, Dale defeated Kramer Hickok 2 up, and Niebrugge posted a 1-up victory over local favorite Sebastian Cappelen, a member of the Arkansas golf team, who attracted a large gallery.
Winning the Western Amateur trophy was motivation enough for the two survivors of the grueling competition, but it so happens that both are finalists for spots on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
On Sunday afternoon, Dale jumped out to a 1-up lead on Niebrugge on the first hole after the Wisconsin native and Oklahoma State sophomore pulled his tee shot far left into the trees and had to re-tee. The first weather delay occurred on this hole at 1:53 p.m., and when play resumed 1-hour and 57 minutes later, Dale’s par 4 beat Niebrugge’s double bogey.
Niebrugge squared the match with a birdie 3 on the par 4 third to Dale’s par.
Dale then bogeyed No. 5 and Niebrugge’s par gave him a 1-up lead, but Niebrugge lost it in short order when he bogeyed the par 3 6th to Dale’s par.
The players halved the next two holes and play was suspended at 5:40 with the players still on the ninth hole.
Semifinal Match One: Kramer Hickok versus Sean Dale
The match was all square coming to the par 3 16th when Dale rolled in a 50-foot putt for birdie moments after Hickok almost chipped in after missing the green with his tee shot.
“I thought I’d made my chip,” said Hickok. “And then he had 50-feet and poured it right in. That stung a little bit. I thought he had more of a chance of three-putting it than making it. That’s the beauty of match play: you can do that to your opponent pretty quickly.”
Semifinal Match Two: Niebrugge versus Cappelen
Niebrugge dodged a bullet in his morning match against Arkansas senior Sebastian Cappelen, of Denmark, who had the vast majority of the 500-person gallery supporting him. Cappelen was about to go 1-up on the 14th hole until Niebrugge drained a clutch 40-foot putt to keep the match all square.
Cappelen took the lead on 15 after Niebrugge hit his tee shot down into the trees and pine straw right of the fairway. With Cappelen on the green in two and set up for an easy par, Niebrugge pitched out into the fairway, chipped onto the green from about 100 yards out and missed a 7-foot downhill par putt.
Niebrugge tied the match on the par 5 17th thanks to one of the more delectable, soft-handed greenside chip shots a golf fan could ever witness. Lying pin high in the left fringe about 45-feet from the hole, Niebrugge, under the direction of his caddie, pitched the ball gently into the fringe and watched as it rolled down the crest of the ridge and come to rest about three feet underneath the hole. He tapped in for birdie to square the match.
The match ended on 18 when Cappelen snap-hooked his tee shot hard left down the slope of the hill. The ball settled next to a tree, forcing Cappelen to pitch out into the fairway behind Niebrugge’s tee shot, which lay in the middle.
Cappelen’s third shot flew into the rough right of the green before Niebrugge hit a perfect approach to within 10 feet of the cup. Cappelen’s pitch rolled 15 feet away from the hole, and he conceded the match to Niebrugge.