MCCOOK – Bishop Neumann senior Lauren Thiele captured her second Nebraska Girls’ Match Play Championship last Thursday when she defeated Papillion’s Sydney Taake 2&1 at Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook.
Thiele’s title run started with a sparkling 1-under par in stroke play qualifying on June 22.
Thiele converted four birdies to counter three bogeys to shoot 71 and in doing so earned the top seed in Wednesday’s round of 16.
She needed just 25 holes to get past Lauryn Ball of Lincoln (first round) and Emily Krzyzanowski of Scottsbluff (quarterfinals) while advancing to Thursday morning’s semifinal round.
Thiele squared off with Omaha’s Katie Ruge, the 2020 Nebraska Women’s Match Play champion.
Ruge held a 2-up lead after six holes, but Thiele was able to regain the momentum with a birdie on the Par 4 ninth hole to close to within one.
Thiele also netted wins on holes 11 and 12 to take a 1-up advantage.
Wins on holes 15 and 16 sealed the 3&2 victory for the Cavalier golfer.
After a shot break, Thiele returned to the course for the matchup with Taake for the match play championship.
Thiele was 1-down going into the back nine, but quickly caught fire starting on the tenth hole, by making par to square the match.
Thiele won the 11th hole by hitting her approach close and converting the birdie to go 1-up.
Taake got out of position on the Par 5 14th and the Par 4 15th and Thiele was able to grab control of the match, winning both holes.
Taake rallied for a win on the 16th hole, but her opponent was able to close out the match with a two-putt par on the Par 5 17th.
Lauren nearly found herself playing her 13-year old sister Brooke in the finals.
Taake defeated Brooke 4&3 in the semifinals to eliminate the talented teenager from the competition, one round short of the finals.
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