Bison alum golfer earns Open shot
Elkhorn’s Scott Gutschewski earned medalist honors and one of the three qualifying spots, with a round of 67 (-5), at Local Qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club of Lincoln last Thursday.
McCook’s Brandon Crick took the final qualifying spot after a round of 70 (-2) left him in a 3-for-1 play-off. Crick was in the first group out and posted the first round under-par. Omaha’s Philip Maschka quickly matched Crick with a 70 (-2) himself. Carson Schaake of Omaha, an Iowa Hawkeye senior, birdied his final three holes to get into the play-off at 2-under.
Norfolk High sophomore and Husker Commit Luke Kluver fired a 69 (-3) to finish runner-up and claim the second spot.
In the play-off, Crick and Schaake both saved par with up-and-downs on the par-4 first hole at the Coun-try Club. Maschka made bogey and was eliminated, he will be the second alternate.
Crick and Schaake both hit it close to the green on the par-4 second hole, but Schaake had the advantage as his ball was just off the green.
Crick was short-sided and forced to hit a flop-shot from the rough, and he pulled it off, giving himself inside 15-feet for birdie. He made the putt, while Schaake’s chip ran by the hole and his birdie putt slid by on the low side.
Crick, a former Husker, won the play-off and took the final spot in Sec-tionals.
Gutschewski, also a former Husker, caught fire after five straight pars to start his round. He rolled in six birdies over his next eight holes to reach 5-under, and a closing birdie on No. 18 made up for a bogey on No. 16, giving him the low round of the day by two strokes, a 67 (-5). Kluver, a future Husker at just 16-years-old, eagled the par-5 eighth hole to shoot 34 (-2) on the front nine, before making a birdie on the par-5 13th hole to get to 3-under.
Kluver looked to be rolling as well, hitting it to a few feet on No. 15, but his birdie putt lipped out and he bogeyed the following hole to fall back to 2-under. He righted the ship on the par-5 17th, rolling in a birdie to get back to 3-under, before a clutch two-putt on No. 18 to clinch his spot.
Gutschewski, Kluver and Crick will advance to play in one of 10 sectional sites on Monday, June 5. Gutschewski played in the 2009 U.S. Open, while Crick competed in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club and missed qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Open by one spot. Kluver has never advanced past local qualifiers.