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Badura wins Nebraska Match Play title in a 9-and-7 rout
Caleb Badura (Nebraska Golf Association/Twitter photo)
Caleb Badura (Nebraska Golf Association/Twitter photo)

Caleb Badura of Aurora, Neb.,cruised to a win in the 52nd Nebraska Match Play Championship on Friday with a 9-and-7 defeat of Omaha’s Dan Huston in the title match at the Players Club in Omaha. It was the fifth-largest winning margin in a 36-hole final.

It was a tough start for Huston, who lost his opening tee shot in the native grass right of the first fairway. He eventually conceded the hole to Badura, but bounced right back with a birdie on No. 2 to tie the match. Huston then took the lead on No. 4, when Badura hit his tee shot out of bounds, but he would soon lose the lead and never regain it, winning just two holes the rest of the way.

Badura won the par-4 sixth hole with a par to tie the match, then won three straight from Nos. 8 to 10 to take a 3-up lead. He then rolled in back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, making it five wins in six holes, to push his lead to 5 up.

Huston came back with a great second shot on the par-5 15th hole to about 15 feet, and two-putted for birdie to cut the lead to 4 up. He made a great sand save on the par-3 16th to tie the hole, and the two would also tie the final two holes of the morning round to leave Badura with the 4 up lead after the first 18 holes.

Badura wasted no time in extending his lead during the second 18, using a hot putter to win the first three holes and push his lead to 7 up. He went on to win five of the first seven holes, and could have easily won all seven, lipping out a birdie putt on No. 4, and nearly holing his approach shot on No. 5, but he parred both and held a 9-up lead after 25 holes.

Huston then hit one of his best shots of the day on the par-3 eighth, sticking his tee shot to within 10 feet of the difficult back-right hole location. He rolled in the birdie putt to cut the lead to 8 up, but the two tied the next two holes, and Huston hit his drive into the penalty area left of No. 11 fairway. The ball was found, and he advanced it into the front greenside bunker, but couldn’t convert his par, and he conceded Badura’s birdie putt and the match.

ABOUT THE Nebraska Match Play

Must be a resident or student of the state of Nebraska. Open to NGA members only. Limited to low 120 indexes. Format will be 36-holes of stroke play to determine a round of 32 match play.

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