SCOTTSBLUFF It was a hot day that turned windy late, but the first round of the 20th Nebraska Girls’ Amateur Championship and the 53rd Nebraska Junior Amateur Championship was completed at Scotts Bluff Country Club on Tuesday.
The day started with 81 boys playing in the morning, and after temperatures reached triple digits, three are tied for the lead. The reigning Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion Reed Malleck of York, Jack Davis of La Vista and Thomas Bryson of Lincoln are at the top of the leaderboard after rounds of 71 (-1).
Malleck had a wild round, making just one par in his first nine holes to make the turn in 37 (+1). The Husker commit made three more birdies on the back nine, giving him seven total, before a closing bogey.
Davis, who will be a junior at Papillion-La Vista this fall, made three birdies on his closing nine holes to finish in red figures. Bryson, the second-youngest player in the field at 13-years-old, jumped into the lead with four birdies in his first 11 holes to get to 4-under. He dropped shots on three of the next four holes, but finished with three straight pars to post 71 (-1) as well.
Omaha’s Christopher Atkinson is the only player at par, shooting a 72 (E). While three players are tied for fifth at 73 (+1), including Charlie Zielinski of Omaha, Geran Sander of Lincoln and the 2018 Champion Jason Kolbas of Lincoln. North Platte’s Kasch Morrison is three strokes back in eighth after a 74 (+2).
Rounding out the top 10 is brothers Luke and Trevor Gutschewski of Elkhorn. Luke is the 2019 Nebraska Junior Match Play Champion, and Trevor is the youngest player in the field, having turned 13 in March. They are tied with Omaha’s Jake Boor at 75 (+3).
The girls had to deal with some different weather issues, as storms popped up later in the afternoon and play was suspended for 50 minutes. After that, the wind picked up with very strong wind gusts throughout the evening. However, Lincoln’s Neely Adler was able to weather the storm.
Adler, who will be a junior at Lincoln Southwest this fall, birdied two of her last four holes to post a 74 (+2). She was one of the few players to score well after the wind picked up. Adler made the turn in 38 (+2), and double-bogeyed N0. 10, but played the final eight holes in 2-under to claim the lead.
Aurora’s Danica Badura, the 2020 Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Champion, played steady golf early in her round, making no bogeys on the front nine, and birdieing the ninth to turn in 35 (-1). The University of South Dakota commit caught the brunt of the wind as one of the late groups, and made four bogeys in her last seven holes. She still put together a round of 75 (+3), and is just one back of Adler.
Badura is looking to become the first player to sweep the girls’ championships since Wahoo’s Hannah Thiele in 2015. Thiele also accomplished her sweep in the panhandle at Kimball’s Four Winds Golf Course.
Also in with a 75 (+3) is Lincoln’s Nicole Kolbas, who lost to Badura in the Nebraska Girls’ Match Play final last month. Kolbas made birdies on Nos. 9 and 11 to get back to even-par, but three bogeys down the stretch dropped her back into the tie for second.
A couple of Scottsbluff natives are in the mix, as Anna Kelley is fourth at 77 (+5) and Emily Krzyzanowski is fifth at 78 (+6). Omaha’s Katie Ruge and Gering’s Madi Schlaepfer are tied for sixth at 79 (+7). While four players are tied for eighth at 80 (+8), including Omaha’s Emily Karmazin, North Platte’s Karsen Morrison and Baylee Steele and Papillion’s Sydney Taake.
The girls’ leaders will start their final round at 10:01 a.m., while the boys’ will play in the afternoon and that field will be cut to the low 40 scores and ties for Thursday’s Final Round.