Lincoln Native, Nate Vontz captures first Nebraska Match Play title
GOTHENBURG, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln’s Nate Vontz was the star of the show at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg this week, and secured his first Nebraska Golf Association title by winning the 54th Nebraska Match Play Championship Final, 1 up over Omaha’s Andy Sajevic.
Vontz, a Creighton Bluejay golfer, was the No. 1 seed after an incredible 131 (-13) total in Stroke Play Qualifying. He faced some battles in match play, but superb ball striking and some clutch putts lifted him to wins in all five of his matches. It’s his first NGA title and he defeated the 2013 Nebraska Match Play Champion in Sajevic, who holes eight total NGA titles.
It was an unfamiliar start to the Final for Vontz, who saw Sajevic jump out to a 2-up lead after six holes. The two tied the first four holes, but Sajevic nearly holed his approach shot to the bowled fifth green at Wild Horse. After a conceded birdie there, Sajevic rolled in another one on the par-5 sixth to take the 2-up lead.
However, Vontz’s ball striking was on display over the next several holes, as he won four of the next five holes with two-putt pars, to take a 2-up lead. Sajevic won the 12th hole with a birdie, but Vontz answered by winning No. 13 with a par and No. 15 with a birdie to go 3 up. Sajevic won the par-5 17th with a par and after a couple more pars on No. 18, the first 18 holes ended with Vontz 2 up.
Sajevic, who couldn’t get the putts to drop in the morning, had the putter going to start the second 18 holes. He made good par save on No. 1 for a win, and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 2 to tie the match through 20 holes.
Vontz responded with another great pitch and putt for birdie on the par-5 third to retake his lead, but Sajevic hit a great approach shot into No. 5 for another conceded birdie there to tie the match again. They went on to tie seven of the next nine holes, with Vontz winning No. 9 and No. 15 again with a birdie. The latter gave him a 2-up lead with three to play.
Vontz made a clutch par save from the Wooga, the native grass at Wild Horse, on No. 16 to keep his lead. Then Sajevic reached the fringe of the par-5 17th hole in two, and hit two putts for a match-saving birdie. He followed with wedge into the 18th green to about eight feet.
That’s when Vontz had his championship moment. He said he’d been working on his wedge game all year, and his shot from around 70 yards finished just a foot from the hole. After walking onto the green and seeing how close Vontz’s ball was, Sajevic conceded the putt and the match.
The final bracket is available on the championship website below.
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