BEATRICE — Fremonter John Sajevic finished fourth on Sunday in the 109th Nebraska Amateur Golf Championship at the Beatrice Country Club.
After shooting a 68 on Thursday and Friday to move into first place, he had a 74 on Saturday. He rebounded to shoot a 70 on Sunday and finished with an 8-under-par 280.
Omaha native Alex Schaake repeated as the champion. He shot a 67 on Saturday and a 65 Sunday to post the second-lowest final score in the history of the tournament (270).
The only better final 72-hole total in the 60 years since the tournament has used the stroke play format was a 267 by Steve Friesen at Lochland Country Club in Hastings in 1998.
Schaake, a sophomore-to-be on the Iowa golf team, is the eighth player to repeat as champion.
“It means a lot to repeat,” he said. “This is the best tournament in Nebraska. All of the best amateurs come here. There were a couple of amateurs that weren’t here (Rylee Reinerstson and Luke Kluver) that I would have liked to, because you always want to beat the best, but I played really well, and I think it would have been hard to catch me this year.”
The win gives Schaake an impressive seven championships in Nebraska Golf Association events. He also won the Junior Amateur three times, and the Junior Match Play Championship twice.
Schaake took a four-shot lead into the final round, and with a 7-under-par 65 on Sunday claimed a dominating seven-shot victory for one of the largest margins of victory in tournament history. Former Nebraska golfer Michael Colgate was the runner-up at 277.
Schaake only started the tournament OK with an even-par 72 in the first round, but was 18-under-par combined over the final three rounds.
“I don’t think I’ve ever consistently played this well,” Schaake said. “I’ve shot scores like I’ve shot the last three days, but consistently I haven’t done it. It’s hard not to do it when the conditions were this good, and the greens were this perfect.”
This week Schaake said his driver was the club he played the best. That helped him play the four par-5 holes a combined 8-under for the four rounds.
“I would pull out driver on holes where you might not even have to hit driver,” Schaake said. “I just felt comfortable with it. I never had a pitch-out (from the trees) this week, which is outstanding at this course. I always had chances to make par.”
Colgate, who recently completed his college career at Nebraska, was playing one of his last amateur events before he plans to turn pro later this summer.
Colgate had one eagle and three birdies Sunday to shoot 68, but he couldn’t catch Schaake.
“It was just fun to be around,” Colgate said. “Alex didn’t make any mistakes. Literally. He was aggressive and kept hitting driver and kept hitting fairways and was hitting wedges to either 5 feet or 15 feet. About every two or three times he’d make a putt. It was just fun to watch, and cool to see how much further I have to go with my wedge game and short game to be like his.”