Niebrugge wins Western Am, eyes Walker spot
ROLAND, Ark. – Jordan Niebrugge won the first three holes Monday morning in the rain-delayed championship match and went on to score a 3-and-2 victory over Sean Dale to claim the title in the 111th Western Amateur at the Alotian Club, located just outside Little Rock.
The victory capped an incredible three-week run by the Oklahoma State sophomore, who last week won the Wisconsin State Amateur and two weeks ago captured the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
PHOTOS: Western Amateur final, 2013
Jordan Niebrugge topped Sean Dale to win the 2013 Western Amateur in a final that lasted two days because of storm delays. Here are images from their match, courtesy Ian Yelton of the WGA.
“You go into every tournament imagining your going to win,” Niebrugge said. “Then to actually do it these last three weeks is pretty unbelievable. It feels really good to say the least.”
At the ninth hole, Niebrugge was able to get up and down for a par to take a 1-up lead. He followed with birdies at 10 and 11 to go 3-up and pretty much take control of the match.
After Dale, winner earlier this year at the Jones Cup, won the 15th with a birdie, Niebrugge closed it out with a two-putt par from 30 feet at the par-3 16th. Dale meanwhile, three-putted from some 60 feet, just missing his five-foot par effort.
“I’ve been playing well for the last two years, but have struggled with my putting and my confidence,” Niebrugge said. “The putter has really come around for me these last three weeks and especially all this week.”
Said Dale, “I kind of have a history in my career of always getting off to a slow start. That’s what happened again today. Jordan made a few putts and I found myself in a tough situation. I couldn’t get it back with just a few holes to play.
“But overall it was a very good week,” Dale said. “I’ll take a lot of positives with me into next week’s U.S. Amateur.”
The final match had been suspended Sunday after a couple of storms rolled into the area. Niebrugge and Dale had just hit their approach shots – both missing the green – at the par-4 ninth when the horn sounded to stop play.
A short time later, officials called it a day. The two returned to the course to pick up where they left off beginning at 7 a.m., all square at the time.
“I came out this morning and told myself there was only nine holes left and I needed to get after it as quickly as I could,” Niebrugge said. “I made a couple of quick birdies to get on top and then just kept hanging in there.”
Said Dale, a recent North Florida graduate, “For some reason it was tough for me to get any momentum going. I got off to a slow start and he made a few putts and that’s the difference between winning and losing.”
The performance of both players at the Western Am, Niebrugge in particular, certainly will up their stock in hopes of gaining one of the final five selections to this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team.
“I would love to be on that team as I’m sure Sean would or any amateur for that matter,” Niebrugge said. “But that’s not up to me. A committee will decide that. All I can do is keep playing well and let my golf do the talking.”
And over the last three weeks, Niebrugge’s golf has been speaking loud and clear.