Ryan Nietfeldt has a winning tradition at Wild Horse Golf Club.
The Omahan won his first two state titles at the Gothenburg course. Those were the 2002 Nebraska Amateur and the 2003 state match-play title.
As the top returning finisher from last year’s match-play tournament, Nietfeldt will be among the favorites this week.
He was the runner-up in 2020 to Luke Kluver of Norfolk. In part because of that win, the Kansas sophomore-to-be will play in the Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnston, Pennsylvania, this weekend and bypass his title defense. Kluver then plays in the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island on June 21-26 and the Western Amateur in Illinois on July 26-31, the latter overlapping with the Nebraska Amateur at Lochland in Hastings.
The championship begins with 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying Tuesday and Wednesday, after which the field will be cut to 32 players. Two rounds of matches Thursday and two more on Friday will set up the 36-hole title match on Saturday.
Husker golfer Caleb Badura of Aurora is seeking his second title in three years. He lost to Kluver on the 18th hole in last year’s semifinals at Hillcrest in Lincoln. Other past champions in the 144-man field are Andy Sajevic of Omaha (2013) and Travis Minzel of Lincoln (2004).
A long ‘1’ for Erstad
Former Husker baseball coach Darin Erstad — with a 3-wood — aced the ninth hole at Champions Run last week for a double eagle.
The hole, where pro golfer Chip Beck famously made a 1 in a Cox Classic, was playing at 288 yards. In Erstad’s foursome were Jake McKee, Cary Ward and former UNO hockey goalkeeper Kendal Sidorik.
PBC schedule changes
No fans will be allowed at Indian Creek for any of the practice rounds for the Aug. 12-15 Pinnacle Bank Championship that wraps up the Korn Ferry Tour regular season. Thus the PBC’s youth day activities, normally on a Tuesday, are being shifted to Saturday of tournament week.
The week will begin with pro-ams on Aug. 9 and 11 and practice rounds for the 156 pros on Aug. 10. The 72-hole championship begins on Aug. 12.
Daily admission tickets are $10 for grounds-only passes and $20 for clubhouse (snack-bar area) access and are being sold at https://thepinnaclebankchampionship.com/tickets.
Kluver came within a stroke of the Dinsdale Classic tournament record this past weekend by shooting 66-67 at Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island. His 11-under 133 was nine strokes ahead of the field.
At the Fremont Golf Club Invitational the previous weekend, Eric Peel of Omaha was the only golfer to break par in both rounds. He finished at 6-under.