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Nebraska Amateur: Matthew Schaefer secures comeback win
Matthew Schaefer (Nebraska Golf Association Photo)
Matthew Schaefer (Nebraska Golf Association Photo)

Matthew Schaefer of Fordyce made up a three-stroke deficit over the final four holes to win the 115th Nebraska Amateur Championship on Sunday at Scotts Bluff Country Club.

Schaefer birdied two of the last four holes to win by one stroke over Charlie Zielinski of Omaha with a 12-under total. It's the first title for the South Dakota State graduate, who fired a 3-under 69 to close out the championship.

Both players made early moves, with Schaefer making a third birdie of the week on the par-5 first hole to take the lead at 10-under. Zielinski quickly answered though, throwing a dart on the par-4 second hole and rolling in the putt to tie the lead again.

Schaefer stumbled in the middle of the front nine for the second-straight day, making bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5, while Zielinski played steady golf. It was a bogey-free front nine for Zielinski, and after both players in the final pairing made birdie on the par-5 No. 9 Zielinski held a two-stroke lead at 11-under. They both played hole No. 9 at 4-under for the week.

The par-5 birdie barrage continued on No. 11, as both Schaefer and Zielinski converted. Zielinski followed with another birdie on the par-3 12th hole, pushing his lead to three strokes. It looked like his back nine woes from the third round, where he shot a 4-over 40 and Schaefer made up six strokes on him, were over.

Zielinski carried that lead into the par-5 15th hole, but Schaefer was prepared to make his move. Schaefer completed the par-5 birdie sweep, birdieing all four on the course in the final round with his on No. 15 to pull within two strokes. After a Zielinski bogey on No. 16, Schaefer stuffed it close on the par-3 17th hole and rolled in a tricky, breaking putt from inside 10 feet to tie the lead.

After finishing each of the first three rounds tied for the lead, Schaefer and Zielinski went to the 72nd hole tied at 12-under. Both players hit their drives just off to the right and found the front tier of the green. After Schaefer left his birdie putt short, Zielinski rolled his too far by, and his comeback par putt lipped out. Schaefer then rolled his short par putt in the hole for the win. Zielinski finished runner-up at 11-under after a Final Round 2-under 70.

Andy Sajevic of Omaha, a four-time Champion, had a chance to get into the mix and make history, but finished third at 10-under, after a 2-under 70. Sajevic made six birdies and played his final 10 holes in 4-under, but a costly double-bogey on No. 5 kept him too far back until late. He birdied Nos. 16 and 18, and nearly rolled in another on No. 17. Sajevic was the only player in the field to post all four rounds under par.

Trevor Gutschewski of Elkhorn came back to earn Low Junior honors, finishing 12th at 2-over. Gutschewski, whose older brother Luke won the 2020 Nebraska Junior Amateur at Scotts Bluff Country Club, shot a Final Round even-par 72 to earn the honors.

Results: Nebraska Amateur
1NEMatthew SchaeferFordyce, NE20067-68-72-69=276
2NECharlie ZielinskiOmaha, NE10067-68-72-70=277
3NEAndy SajevicOmaha, NE5071-67-70-70=278
4NECalvin FreemanTable Rock, NE5069-69-72-71=281
5NEPeyton KochRalston, NE5072-67-71-72=282

View full results for Nebraska Amateur

ABOUT THE Nebraska Amateur

Must be a resident of the state of Nebraska or a non- resident student that attends college in Nebraska. Open to NGA members only. Format is 72-holes of stroke play with the low 60 players and ties playing the final 36-holes.

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