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Niebrugge Continues Outstanding Summer with Triumph in Western Amateur
In a Monday finish caused by a weather delay, Jordan Niebrugge extended his remarkable run of victories by winning the 111th Western Amateur title at The Alotian Club in Roland, Ark.
The Oklahoma State sophomore from Mequon, Wis., beat Sean Dale, of Jacksonville, Fla., 3 and 2, in the 18-hole final match.
Because of a heavy storm that came through The Alotian Club on Sunday, Niebrugge and Dale had to restart their match on the ninth hole at 7:00 a.m. Monday. Niebrugge got going quickly by winning the first three holes to take a 3-up lead with seven holes to go.
"It woke me up, that's for sure," said Dale, a 2013 NCAA second-team All-American at the University of North Florida. "If I wasn't awake, that did it."
Dale got to 2-down with a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th. But his par putt to halve the par-3 16th slid just by the hole, and Niebrugge, who turned 20 on Sunday, had his 3 and 2 victory.
Niebrugge's fine putting was the difference throughout the championship. "I kept hanging in there with putting the whole week," he said. "And I finally was fortunate to make a few in the last two matches."
The Western Amateur title was his third big win in 17 days. After taking the U.S. Public Links Championship he won the Wisconsin State Amateur and now the Western Amateur. The latter might have been his toughest test yet.
"I think (the Western) probably the hardest tournament to win for amateurs," he said. "It's unbelievable. It's such a prestigious event, with so many great winners, it feels incredible. I played well all week, and you have to do that in this format."
Niebrugge now sets his sights on the U.S. Amateur August 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. He's also hoping his recent play warrants a selection on the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team. The Yanks will compete against Great Britain and Ireland at another classic American course, the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., September 7 and 8. The USA will be seeking to regain the Cup won by GB&I in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen.
"Obviously, I can only do what I'm doing . . . let the golf do the talking - just keep playing good golf like I have the last couple of weeks," said Niebrugge.
"Hats off to Jordan," said Dale, who also has hopes of making the 2013 Walker Cup team. "He played great. I think he made seven birdies in the match."
Niebrugge joins a Western Amateur list of champions that includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange and Ben Crenshaw. And he did it on The Alotian Club's highly ranked layout in the Western Amateur's first venture to the South in 47 years.
The Western Golf Association, which oversees the championship, lauded the layout and the reception it received this year. "This is a most spectacular venue, and I'm amazed at how courteous and golf knowledgeable people were," said Jim Bunch, WGA chairman. "We've been remiss in not bringing this to the South for 47 years, and I will guarantee you it won't be that long before we come back."
Warren Stephens, The Alotian Club's founder, was equally enthusiastic about the event's success. "We're honored to have had the Western Amateur at The Alotian Club," he said. "I want to thank all of our members. They worked countless hours in preparation along with the staff. We estimated we had 13,000 patrons and volunteers here during the week, and I think it all went flawlessly. We've seen some great golf."
The above report is courtesy of the Western Golf Association. For more information and scoring details, visit http://www.thewesternamateur.com/site/c.lnKNKOOsHqE/b.5759521/k.BD46/Home.htm.