OMAHA (June 5, 2023) – Omaha’s Katie Ruge earned the top spot in the bracket at the 100th Women’s Match Play Championship and won her first match on Monday at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha.
Stroke Play Qualifying kicked off the championship in the morning, with 86 players competing, including 49 in the Championship Division, who played for 16 spots in the Championship Bracket. Ruge, the 2020 Champion, earned medalist honors and the No. 1 seed with a round of 71 (E).
A playoff was needed to fill the top bracket, with four players at 80 (+8) vying for the final two spots. Lindsey Thiele of Wahoo and Jazmine Taylor of Omaha earned the No. 15 and No. 16 seeds, respectfully, after the third playoff hole. Omaha’s Nicole Hansen and Papillion’s Sydney Taake failed to advance through the playoff.
Ruge took on Taylor in her opening match, and rolled to a 5-and-4 win. She jumped out to a 5-up lead after nine holes and then cruised into the Quarterfinals once again.
Thiele had to face a familiar opponent, her younger sister Lauren, who was the No. 2 seed with a round of 73 (+2). She also had some help, with last year’s champion and former Husker teammate Megan Whittaker of Elkhorn as her caddie. Lindsey finished runner-up to Megan last year, but the two teamed up to defeat Lauren, 1 up. The older sister’s putter caught fire late, as she poured in long putts on Nos. 15, 16 and 18 to hold off Lauren and advance.
Ruge will face the youngest player in the field in the Quarterfinals, 12-year-old Naryn Kim of Lincoln. Kim defeated Elkhorn’s Jen Teusink, who is 29 years her senior, 1 up. Thiele will take on Cecilia Arndt of Columbus, who picked up the biggest win of the day, a 7-and-5 victory over Brandi Zetocka of Wahoo.
Omaha’s Kaitlyn Hanna, the 2022 Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Champion, is looking for her first women’s title, and picked up a 5-and-3 win over Omaha’s Izabella Pesicka. She’ll take on Lincoln’s Isabella Elgert, who also won big, 5 and 4 over Omaha’s Emily Karmazin.
UNK golfer Allison Comer won over Julia Karmazin of Omaha, 3 and 1, and will face Scottsbluff’s Emily Krzyzanowski. Krzyzanowski, whose older sister Kaitlyn is a past champion, took down three-time Nebraska Women’s Golfer of the Year Danica Badura of Aurora, 2 and 1.