KEARNEY, Neb. — Millard North junior Katie Ruge is the second-youngest winner in the 97 years of the Nebraska women’s match-play golf championship.
Ruge, 16, defeated UNO senior Hannah Hunke from Snyder 4 and 3 in Wednesday’s scheduled 18-hole final at Kearney Country Club.
“I worked really hard for it. So it means a lot,’’ Ruge said. “This is my first big one. So it's really special.”
The youngest match play champion was Lincoln's Kate Strickland, who was 15 when she won last year at Fremont Golf Club. Strickland did not enter this year.
Ruge is also the fifth junior golfer to win the title, joining Strickland, Wahoo's Hannah Thiele (2015), Lincoln's Anna Christenson (2007) and Omaha's Theresa Wanek (1975).
Ruge won three of the first five holes for a 2-up lead and never trailed. A long hitter, she often hit 3-woods off the tee on the course’s narrow fairways.
“I'm just trying to stay consistent out there, make those pars so I have to pressure her to make birdies,’’ she said.
In the Founder's Bracket final, North Platte's Karsen Morrison defeated Beemer's Lacie Fox 3 and 2. Other flight winners were from Kearney, Sally Bryson in the first flight and Sandy Janssen in the second.
The Nebraska 100: Our greatest athletes
The Nebraska 100, originally selected in 2005 and then updated and re-ranked in 2015, came from a pool of nearly 500 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 140 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper's sports staff determining the final rankings.