Columbus, NE. – Elks Country Club played host to the 31st edition of the Wells Fargo Nebraska Open and welcomed players from all over the world to the 54-hole championship. The field consisted of 100 Professionals and 32 amateurs featuring players that currently hold cards on various Professional tours. In addition to the tournament, the annual open championship raises money for college scholarships that are awarded to students in the Central Community College systems.
The tournament kicked off last Friday with windy conditions making it tough for players to navigate the tricky layout. During round one, Kentucky’s Brendon Doyle and Missouri’s Ryan Argotsinger opened with rounds of 65 (6-under) to set the pace. Iowa’s Tripp Kinney and Arizona’s Andrew Paisley finished at 66 (5-under) with 14 other players within four strokes of the lead.
After an opening 68 (3-under), Minnesota’s Ben Sigel fired a 65 to get to 9-under total for the tournament after round two. Korn Ferry Tour Member Tripp Kinney of Iowa matched Sigel at 9-under through two rounds thanks to his 66-67 start. In solo third sat Harry Hillier of New Zealand at 7-under total. Heading into Sunday’s final round, 25 players were within five of the lead setting up an exciting finish.
With perfect scoring conditions welcoming the players to the course during the final round, it was going to take a low number to capture the 31st Wells Fargo Nebraska Open. Proving he was up to the task, Hillier opened with a 30 (5-under) and made the turn with sole possession of the lead. As Hillier began his back nine, another Hillier made a run. Harry’s brother, Charlie Hillier went birdie-eagle-birdie through holes 14-16 and tied his younger brother at 13-under for the championship.
“I was watching the leaderboard and I saw my brother chasing me down and I looked at Keegs (his caddie) and said we needed to get to 15 or 16-under to win this thing”, said Harry Hillier.
That’s exactly what they did. With birdies on No. 13 and No. 16, he coasted to the finish and captured the 31st Wells Fargo Nebraska Open. After he finished his collegiate career at the University of Kansas, Harry Hillier turned pro in June officially turning the game he loves into a career. Now, he has his first Professional victory under his belt.
“I played in my first Korn Ferry Tour event in Wichita this summer and thought that was really cool but grabbing my first Professional victory is a feeling I can’t put into words,’’ said Hillier.
Charlie Hillier finished at 13-under to take solo second and the two brothers from New Zealand finished atop the leaderboard. Finishing tied for third was Wade Binfield of Kansas and Ben Sigel. Elkhorn’s Trevor Gutschewski finished at 2-under to claim low-Amateur honors while Matt Seitz of Kansas capture low-Senior Professional honors at 10-over.
The 31st Wells Fargo Nebraska Open marked another year of competitive championship golf that in return raises money to support our state’s future leaders and their education. We would like to thank Head Golf Professional Mike VunCannon, PGA, Superintendent Eric Bice and the entire staff at Elks Country Club for hosting another tremendous event.