Caleb Badura, his sister Danica Badura and Ryan Nietfeldt are Nebraska’s amateur golfers of the year.
It’s the first time a brother and sister have been honored in the same year and only the fourth time that the Nebraska Golf Association named co-recipients of its men’s award.
The Baduras are from Aurora. Caleb is playing for Nebraska this season and Danica is a high school senior who signed with South Dakota.
Caleb won the Nebraska match-play championship and was runner-up at the Nebraska Amateur, losing on the seventh playoff hole to Omaha’s Alex Schaake.
Danica, who also was the NGA’s girls golfer of the year, was runner-up at the Nebraska Girls Amateur and the Nebraska Women’s Amateur, and made the semifinals of the state girls and women’s match-play championships. She led the sponsoring Nebraska Women’s Amateur Golf Association point standings.
Nietfeldt, 43, finished 29 points ahead of Caleb Badura in the NGA point standings, the closest margin in 15 years, to be the oldest to win the men’s award. Nietfeldt’s wins at the Nebraska Mid-Amateur and Nebraska Four-Ball swelled his NGA championship total to nine. His fourth golfer of the year award ties him for second all time with Friend’s David Clouse. The leader, with five, is Larry Sock of Lincoln.
Fremont’s John Sajevic, 63, was the NGA’s senior amateur of the year for the seventh time in the eight years of the award. His title at the Nebraska Senior Amateur was his 10th in NGA events, tying him with Schaake for the record. Sajevic was runner-up in the NGA senior match play and teamed with son Andy to advance to the round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
UNO freshman Josh Bartels, who graduated from Lincoln Southwest, was the NGA’s boys golfer of the year. He led the point standings, losing a 20-hole final to Omaha’s Luke Gutschewski in the boys match-play tournament, winning the Nebraska Junior PGA Championship, advancing to match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur and finishing fourth at the Nebraska Junior Amateur.
The NGA presented its Virgil A. Parker Special Recognition Award to Dick Youngscap of Lincoln, who developed Firethorn in Lincoln and Sand Hills near Mullen.
Robak to lead NGA
Former Lt. Gov. Kim Robak is the first female president of the Nebraska Golf Association.
She has served on the NGA board since 2011 and was its vice president the past two years. She also will be president in 2020 of the Country Club of Lincoln.
Robert Planansky of Lincoln is the next vice president. Tom Everett of Omaha, UNK Chancellor Douglas Kristensen of Minden and Judson Martin of Scottsbluff were elected to three-year board terms. Everett, the president of Landscapes Unlimited, is the first PGA Professional to be a board member.
Nebraska Golf Show set
The Nebraska Golf Show will return Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 to the CHI Health Center for the seventh year, but the first time with Friday-Saturday dates.
It will have its usual offerings, including a Saturday Kids Day, free lessons from Nebraska PGA Section pros, club demos, free golf promotions and more than 80 exhibitors. Admission is $14, with a $1 discount for seniors, active duty military, law enforcement officers and firefighters. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
NGA Junior All-Stars named
Bartels and Danica Badura were named captains of the NGA Junior All-Star Team.
Also selected were Gutschewski, Luke Kluver of Norfolk, Reed Malleck of York and Josh Peters of Omaha for boys and Jalea Culliver and Kaitlyn Hanna of Omaha, Kate Strickland of Lincoln and Lauren Thiele of Wahoo for girls. Kluver is the first four-time boys selection.
» Happy Hollow director of instruction Ryan Vermeer tied for the leading U.S. point-getter in the PGA Cup, which the American club professionals regained, by not losing a hole in his 5-and-4 singles match win.
» New inductees in the Nebraska Hickory Golf Hall of Fame are former Omaha Northwest teacher Rob Ahlschwede, club maker Tad Moore, Roger Hill and Ralph Livingston III (posthumously).
» Sand Hills fell one spot, to 14th, in the new Golf Magazine world top 100 course rankings. Augusta National had it much worse. The home of the Masters tumbled from fifth to ninth. Ballyneal, across the stateline near Holyoke, Colorado, vaulted from 86th to 57th. Among the reasons cited for the big jump is the improved condition of the course while former Omahan Jared Kalina has been its superintendent.
» Former Husker golfer Eric Eshleman, who lettered in 1989 and 1990, is the PGA of America’s 2019 Golf Professional of the Year. He is director of golf at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.
» Florida’s large-school girls golf champion is Jacqui Putrino, whose grandfather is former Husker football player Dennis Korinek. Her mother is former Metro Conference champion Regina Korinek of Omaha Burke and Auburn University. The sophomore shot 8-under for 36 holes.