Omaha’s Alex Schaake and Elkhorn’s Ryan Nietfeldt battled through one of golf’s most grueling days in Nebraska and advanced through Sectional Qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln on Monday.
They qualified for the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Schaake was flawless in earning his first trip to the U.S. Amateur on a hot day, in more ways than one. The newest Nebraska Match Play Champion did not make a bogey in 36 holes, adding in 10 birdies and earning medalist honors by four strokes.
After a first round 68 (-3) and trailing by two strokes, Schaake caught fire to start his second round. He birdied his first three holes, Nos. 10, 11 and 12, then added birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 to shoot 30 (-5). Two more birdies on the front nine, and Schaake posted the low round of the day by two strokes, a 64 (-7). His 132 (-10) was the low score by four strokes.
Nietfeldt was in a similar position after the first round, shooting a 1-under 70, and two strokes back of the second qualifying spot. He, too, caught fire, playing his first four holes in three-under, including an eagle on the par-5 third hole. Nietfeldt turned in 32 (-4), and closed with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 to shoot 66 (-5) and take the second qualifying spot with a 136 (-6) total. It’s the first time in 18 years that he will play in the U.S. Amateur.
Schaake and Niietfeldt will next play at the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.