BEEMER – If Plainview’s Tucker Knaak seemed especially focused at this week’s Nebraska Junior Amateur golf championship, it turned out he had some extra motivation.
Shortly after dominating the three-day tournament with an even par 213, Knaak dedicated his win to Jason Gutz, a friend from Plainview who was killed in a farm accident last week.
“I just wanted to win this for him and his family,” Knaak told NCN Sports on Friday. “I was able to do it.”
Knaak was one of the few golfers who seemed to be able to figure out a difficult Indian Hills Country Club that surrendered just five under par rounds over the three day tournament.
“I just hit a lot of fairways,” said Knaak. “I was hitting my driver well. I hit most of the greens and was able to putt well and score well.”
This was Knaak’s sixth appearance in the Nebraska Junior Amateur. His previous best finish was a tie for 24th last year. But Knaak said he’d been working on his game with former PGA Tour pro and winner of the 1970 Junior Amateur, Tom Sieckmann in Omaha.
“He told me to stay calm, swing your swing and accept the results,” Knaak said.
Knaak’s win ended a three-year reign for Alex Schaake of Omaha. He’s the latest in a recent string of Northeast Nebraska champions, joining Brunswick’s Sam Meuret in 2013, Laurel’s Mitchell Klooz in 2012 and Beemer’s Richard Schneider in 2010.
This was the third time Indian Hill hosted the Junior Amateur, and the first time since 2008.
1. Tucker Knaak (Plainview) – E
2. Trevor Kosch (Humphrey) – +4
3. Caleb Badura (Aurora) – +5
4. Patrick Clare (Lincoln) – +6
5. Alex Zillig (La Vista) – +10
T6. Josh Peters (Omaha) – +11
T6. Cade McCallum (Grand Island) – +11
T8. Carson Blecke (Plattsmouth) – +12
T8. Dalton Mogul (York) – +12
T10. Josh Bartels (Lincoln) – +13
T10. Jake Kluver (Norfolk) – +13