KEARNEY (July 22, 2020) – Omaha’s Katie Ruge defeated Snyder’s Hannah Hunke in the Final of the 97th Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship on Wednesday at Kearney Country Club, becoming the second youngest champion.
Ruge is just 16-years-old and will be a junior at Millard North high school in the fall. Lincoln’s Kate Strickland was the youngest, at 15-years-old when she won in 2019. Ruge is also the fifth junior golfer to win the title, joining Strickland, Wahoo’s Hannah Thiele (2015), Lincoln’s Anna Christenson (2007) and Omaha’s Theresa Wanek (1975).
Ruge started the Final with a birdie to take a 1 up lead, and never trailed, winning 4 and 3 over Hunke. A couple holes later, Hunke tied the match with a par on No. 3, but Ruge won No. 4 to regain her lead. Ruge then won No. 5 with a birdie to go 2 up, and she never relinquished the lead.
It looked like Hunke might get one back on No. 9, as she had a birdie putt and Ruge was short of the green and a long way from the hole. However, Ruge hit a great pitch shot that nearly went in, stopping just inches short of the hole. Hunke two-putted and they made the turn with Ruge 2 up.
Hunke then won the par-3 10th hole with a par, but that’s when Ruge made her run to close out the match. She won No. 11 with a par, when Hunke missed the green long and left. Hunke nearly holed her flop shot, but missed her par putt. Ruge hit another close approach on No. 13 and sank the putt for birdie to go 3 up. Hunke found the penalty area on No. 15, and Ruge sealed the win.
In the Founder’s Bracket Final, North Platte’s Karsen Morrison won 3 and 2 over Beemer’s Lacie Fox. In the 1st Flight Bracket of the Non-Championship Division, Kearney’s Sally Bryson won 1 up against Grand Island’s Chris Seberger. In the 2nd Flight Bracket, Kearney’s Sandy Janssen won in 19 holes against Lincoln’s Kelly Nelson.