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Badura breaks Nebraska Amateur single-round scoring record

(KSNB)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:20 PM CDT
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Aurora’s Caleb Badura broke the championship scoring record on Thursday to come from way behind to tie Matthew Schaefer’s lead after the third round of the 113th Nebraska Amateur Championship at Lochland Country Club in Hastings.

Badura and Schaefer, a Fordyce native, sit atop the leaderboard at 207 (-9) after 54 holes. Badura put together a round that will be remembered for a long time. The Husker golfer and 2019 Nebraska Match Play Champion carded a round of 63 (-9) to break the single round scoring record at the Nebraska Amateur.

Lincoln’s Knox Jones held the scoring record for 44 years before it fell at Lochland on Thursday. Jones shot an 8-under 64 at Hillcrest Country Club in 1977 to set the record for most strokes under-par in a single round. The lowest score of 64 strokes had been done four times before, most recently by Lincoln’s Nate Vontz last year. Badura topped them all to vault into the lead.

Badura, who began the day at even-par, wasted no time in making his move. He eagled the par-5 first hole, before rolling in birdies on Nos. 7 and 9, to make the turn in 32 (-4). He added two more birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. On No. 14, he nearly holed a wedge shot and knocked in a four-foot birdie to get to 7-under, within one of the record. Badura nearly dropped a 40-foot putt on No. 15, but it lipped out and he tapped in for par.

After pars on the next two holes, Badura headed to the par-5 18th need a birdie to tie the record and an eagle to break it. He found the fairway with his drive, but had an awkward stance from 259 yards with the ball below his feet. He debated with his caddie and father, Craig, about laying up because of the stance. However, they decided to give it a go with a hybrid. The ball landed just short of the green and rolled to within four feet of the back hole location. Badura said to his dad that it was the best shot he’s ever hit. He rolled in the putt for eagle to break the record.

Schaefer started the day with a three-stroke lead, and had an up-and-down round. He made four birdies and three bogeys on the front nine, and then birdied No. 11 and pushed his lead to five strokes. However, he bogeyed No. 12 and finished with back-t0-back bogeys to shoot 73 (+1) and fall to 9-under, tied with Badura.

Outside of the final pairing, there are several contenders still in the mix. Three players are tied for third at 208 (-8), including the reigning Nebraska Match Play Champion, Vontz. Vontz shot 68 (-4) to get himself into position for a final round move, one stroke back. Lincoln’s David Easley and Husker golfer Tristan Nelko played together and posted the two lowest rounds outside of Badura to also finish at 8-under. Nelko made book-end eagles on Nos. 1 and 18 to shoot 66 (-6), while Easley made six birdies and shot 67 (-5).

There’s four more players within four strokes of the lead. Bennington’s Johnny Spellerberg is in sixth at 209 (-7). The 2010 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion posted his second-straight round under par, a 69 (-3) to move up the leaderboard.

In a tie for seventh is the 2020 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion Luke Gutschewski of Elkhorn. Gutschewski shot 71 (-1) to get to 211 (-5), tied with Omaha’s Grant Jabenis and Charlie Zielinski. Zielinski also shot 71 (-1), while Jabenis, playing with Schaefer in the final group, posted a 74 (+2). Omaha’s Miles Russell, the first round leader, rounds out the top 10 at 212 (-4) after an even-par 72.

The final round begins Friday at 7 a.m., with play in twosomes off No. 1 tee. The final pairing, Schaefer and Badura, are set to tee-off at 11:30 a.m.

Courtesy: Nebraska Golf Association