OAKLAND – The first hole at the Oakland Golf Course is a par four which plays at 350 yards.
Nebraska Junior Match Play champion Reed Malleck of York, the No. 13 seed, used the first hole during the week to grab early leads as he birdied the hole the final four times he played it. That included on Friday when he went 1-up and led wire to wire in the 3 & 1 win over Josh Kramer of Omaha.
“Starting on a hole that you really feel good about and also when you are nervous as well, the first hole I could pull out the driver and put myself in good position, “ said Malleck. “It left me with a good distance for my wedge and I was able to really play it well and get some confidence going right away. I was able to set the tone and maybe get my opponent thinking a little bit.”
Malleck, who is headed to Nebraska to play golf for the Huskers recorded three more birdies and that included No. 17 a par five 554 yard stretch to end Kramer’s hopes.
A pair of pars by both players at No. 15 put Malleck at dormie, meaning Kramer would have to win the next three holes to force extra holes. All Malleck had to do at that point was match Kramer or just outright win a hole to claim the championship.
On No. 16 Kramer had picked up a par while Malleck bogeyed the hole to cut his lead to 2-up with two to play.
Malleck ended his incredible week with his 20th birdie and the win on No. 17.
After the birdie at No. 1, Malleck also birdied No. 4 to stretch his lead to 2-up and he made it a three hole lead when won the par five No. 5 hole with a par.
Kramer cut the lead to 2-up with a win on No. 8, another par five.
On No. 10 Malleck won the par three hole with a bogey and his lead was back to three.
While the first hole set up well for Malleck’s eye and gave him some early confidence, he quickly pointed out the greens at Oakland were what he really liked.
“The greens were super pure. They were a speed that I really liked and I have always felt that putting is a big part of my game and the greens here are just so consistent,” said Malleck in a phone interview following the win. “The course has a little bit of a York feel to it, but it is probably a little bit more open. It’s not as suffocating as York and not as many trees.”
Malleck who has been close on several occasions to winning some big tournaments, said this kind of validates some close efforts.
“It’s just finally getting the win. After having played pretty well in other tournaments, I can now say that I did it,” Malleck added.
Next week, Malleck will be teeing it up with the “big boys” at the 53rd Nebraska Men’s Match Play Championships which will be held at Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln.
Malleck will tee-off at 1:10 p.m. on Monday and will be playing with Andy Sajevic of Omaha and Johnny Spellerberg of Bennington.
Sajevic was the 2013 Nebraska Match Play Champion which was held at Elks Country Club in Columbus.
The only player from York to ever win the title was Bill McNaught in 1971 at Lochland Country Club in Hastings.