COUNCIL BLUFFS — The news barely got to Jose Vega before he lined up a 5-foot birdie putt Sunday on the final hole of the Metro Omaha Golf Championship.
Zach Taylor was in the Dodge Riverside clubhouse at 5 under, which is where Vega stood.
“I didn’t know I was tied,” Vega said. “Coach told me about two minutes before I putted.
“Putting has been good for me. I put a good stroke on that putt and it went in.”
A Bellevue University junior from Colombia, Vega shot a pair of 3-under 69s in the 36-hole city tournament to finish at 6 under. His caddie Sunday was BU men’s golf coach Rob Brown.
Taylor, whose 5-under 67 Sunday was the low round of the tournament, will be a sophomore at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Neb.
Tying for third at 2 under were Omaha Creighton Prep senior-to-be Ben Maschka, Nebraska walk-on Mike Siwa and Creighton University senior Daniel McKernan.
Vega, 19, was the top-ranked junior player in his home country three years ago. When it didn’t work out for him to go to a Division I school in Louisiana he didn’t identify, he came to Bellevue on the advice of a friend.
“I got in love with everything there,” he said. “There’s great places to practice, great places to play. The team is great.”
This past season, Vega was the conference player of the year and an NAIA All-American who made the national championship all-tournament team.
While his final putt won the city title outright, making a longer putt on the previous hole for par proved to be as vital. The 8-footer with a sidehill break kept him at 5 under.
McKernan was one stroke off the lead going to the 17th, but pushed his drive — he hit a long iron — out of bounds to the right. It led to a double bogey that dropped the former World-Herald Publinks champion three strokes back.
Siwa had been the first-day leader with a 68. The former baseball player from Omaha Burke struggled on the first nine Sunday, shooting 40 to fall to even par before getting back to 3 under after the 16th hole.
One of the longest hitters in the field, Siwa was in the left rough off the tee on the 17th and his wedge shot went through the green. The ensuing bogey also left him three back with one hole left.
Maschka, whose 69 was the only other round in the 60s Sunday, was last year’s runner-up to Rick Dusek at Bent Tree. Dusek didn’t return this year to defend his title.