OMAHA – Omaha’s Andy Sajevic repeated the feat he accomplished 10 years ago, charging in the final round to win the 112th Nebraska Amateur Championship at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha on Thursday.
Sajevic won his first Nebraska Amateur 10 years ago, nearly to the day, at Happy Hollow. He triumphed again today at the same place, shooting a final round 72 (+1) to cruise to a three-stroke win with a 281 (-3) total. It’s his fourth title, and first in seven years, putting him in the company with four others who have won at least four Nebraska Amateurs. Sajevic joins Alex Schaake, Rod Bliss Jr., Sam Reynolds and Bob Astleford in the four-time club.
It was a grind during the final round, with windy conditions making it difficult to score for the field. Sajevic rose above the list of contenders, avoiding the mistakes and putting together one of the best rounds of the day. He was bogey-free for most of the day, taking the lead early as 54-hole leader Calvin Freeman of Table Rock dropped shots with bogeys on holes No. 4, 5 and 6. Both players birdied the par-5 seventh hole, but Freeman made double-bogey on No. 9 and Sajevic held a four-stroke lead at the turn.
Omaha’s Grant Jabenis, the first round leader, made a move with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 to get within four strokes. However, he played the next three holes in 4-over par. Freeman also made a couple early bogeys on the back nine, while Sajevic continued to plug away, making seven straight pars to open the closing nine.
Sajevic’s lead grew to five strokes, and nearly made it to seven. He hit the par-5 14th in two, and nearly sank a long eagle-putt, but lipped it out and did the same with his birdie putt. Sajevic made pars on Nos. 15 and 16, and went to the final two holes with a five-stroke lead over Freeman. He bogeyed the final two holes, but rolled in a five-foot putt on the 18th hole to seal his three-stroke win and his fourth title.
Freeman, who played college golf at Nebraska and now is the head coach at Southeast Community College, shot a final round 76 (+5) and finished at 284 (E) to earn runner-up honors.
Husker golfer Tom Westenberger finished third at 286 (+2) after a final round 72 (+1), while Jabenis was fourth at 287 (+3) following his 75 (+4). Lincoln’s Nate Vontz followed up his record-tying 64 (-7) on Wednesday with a final round 71 (E) to finish fifth at 288 (+4).
Aurora’s Caleb Badura, last year’s runner-up and the 2019 Nebraska Match Play Champion, shot a 74 (+3) to finish in sixth at 290 (+6). Lincoln’s David Easley and Crete’s Conor Schubring, a Doane University golfer, tied for seventh at 291 (+7). Bennington’s William Amundsen and Omaha’s John Lapour rounded out the top 10 at 292 (+8), tied for ninth.
Elkhorn’s Luke Gutschewski shot the round of the day to earn Low Junior honors. The 2020 Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion posted a 70 (-1), one of just two rounds under par for the final round, to finish tied for 15th at 295 (+11). Another junior, Omaha’s Charlie Zielinski, matched Gutschewski’s round with a 70 (-1) himself, finishing T-18 at 296 (+12). The two will be teammates on the Kansas-Nebraska Junior Cup team next week.
The 2002 Champion Ryan Nietfeldt of Elkhorn was tied for 11th at 293 (+9), while 1989 Champion John Sajevic of Fremont put together a final round 73 (+2) to get into a tie for 38th at 302 (+18). Sajevic, father of the champion Andy Sajevic, successfully completed his 35th Nebraska Amateur, making the cut each time and also for the 21st straight year.