NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. – Rylee Reinertson of Gibbon, Neb., fended off a surge by the Nebraska State Champion, Carson Schaake of Omaha, Neb., to win the boys’ 16-18 division in the PGA Junior Series sponsored by Genesis Networks and gained an exemption into the 37th Junior PGA Championship and Callaway Junior World Golf Championship.
After carding a 75 on the first day, Reinertson shot back-to-back 70s for a three-day total of one-under-par 215. His safe play off the tee and solid putting proved to be the difference.
“I only missed two or three fairways. I was really focusing on getting the ball in the fairway,” said Reinertson, “I made a nice two-putt on 15 and 16, both from about 45 feet. I knew I had to make a couple of pars coming in and was able to two-putt and make them.”
Carson Schaake, the Nebraska Class A State Champion, pulled out all the stops, but was unable to match Reinertson. He was one-under par after 10 holes but couldn’t manage any more birdies to finish at 71, and a 217 total.
Zac Dittmer of Kansas City, Mo., shot a third consecutive 73 and finished in third place overall.
Despite shooting her highest round of the 54-hole tournament, Cha Cha Willhoite of Palm Desert, Calif., maintained her lead and won the girls’ 16-18 division by four strokes, shooting a nine-over-par total of 225.
“My round was very sketch but I held in there and got my first win,” said Willhoite, “My putting was very good. I never have a problem with my driver so that helps.”
Brooke Ferrell of Edgerton, Wis., and Jordan Chael of Overland Park, Kan., both shot 75 to tie for second but Ferrell won a scorecard playoff, making her the runner-up.
Sean Song of Omaha, Neb., racked up four birdies to counter four bogeys to win the boys’ 15-15 division. His final-round 75 was enough to hold off a surge by Jake Goldman of Leawood, Kan., who finished two strokes back of Song.
“I was playing really steady throughout the whole entire round,” said Song, “I hit a lot of greens again and was making more putts today.”
Alex Schaake of Ohama, Neb., finished in third place with a one-under-par round of 71 for a three-day total of 232.