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Alex Schaake will join brother in Pinnacle Bank Championship after winning sponsor exemption

Alex Schaake will join brother in Pinnacle Bank Championship after winning sponsor exemption

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Alex Schaake at the Nebraska match play championship in 2018.

So much for Alex Schaake chasing a fifth consecutive Nebraska Amateur championship.

He’s joining his brother in the field for the Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Schaake won the Indian Creek Invitational on Sunday, a victory good for a sponsor’s exemption to the July 30 through Aug. 2 PBC at Indian Creek.

The Iowa senior, the 2019 Big Ten player of the year, made pars from the sand on the final two holes to stay one stroke ahead of Calvin Freeman. They were the only two to finish 36 holes under par — Schaake at 2-under and Freeman at 1-under.

The PBC starts on the final day of the Nebraska Amateur at Happy Hollow Club. The overlap occurred when the PBC got later dates on the tour schedule than last year.

“Standing on the sixth tee, I thought for sure I was going to be playing in the Amateur because I wasn’t feeling like myself,” Schaake said. “I wasn’t rolling the putter very well and Calvin was playing great. Tanner Owen was, too.”

His older brother, Iowa graduate Carson Schaake, is a pro golfer who won the PBC’s qualifier for Nebraska-only players July 2 at ArborLinks in Nebraska City. Tour officials are checking to see the last time brothers played in the same event.

“I was pretty bummed that my brother got in and I didn’t through ArborLinks, but that was a real big opportunity for him, and he didn’t have this opportunity to play in the Indian Creek Invitational because he’s a pro,” Alex said. “I was going to start my pro career this year, but due to COVID, I’m not. But just to know that I’m going to go compete with those guys, get some more experience under my belt, it’s going be an awesome feeling. I’m excited.”

Schaake was trailing Freeman and Owen, a pair of ex-Huskers, by three going to the par-3 eighth. Schaake made a 40-footer for birdie to pick up two strokes on Freeman, who bogeyed; and catch Owen, who double-bogeyed.

“Everything turned around there,” Schaake said. “I made that 40-footer with perfect speed and then the putter started to feel really good.”

He went ahead of Freeman with a birdie-2 on the 13th and a par -4 on the next hole. Both birdied the 15th and parred in.

Schaake had more adventure on the final two holes with his excursions to the sand.

“Winning feels even better after those last few holes. So stressful,” he said.

On the par-3 17th, he needed to make a 20-footer for his sand save.

The next hole, he said, “it might have been the best bunker shot I’ve ever had in my life. You couldn’t see it, but the ball was plugged in the bunker.”

Still, he had a 3-footer for the win that he said would have looked much longer had Freeman’s long birdie putt gone in.

Alex Schaake will be in the Pinnacle Bank Championship for the second time in three years. He was a Monday qualifier in 2018. Carson qualified for the first time.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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