Pender finishes Pendragons take Class D golf title | Select

NORTH PLATTE – Last season, Pender ended up third in the Class D Nebraska Golf Championships here at Lake Maloney Golf Course, but returned every member of last year’s team.

Although that should make the Pendragons the front runner in 2023, the team that won last year, Overton, also returned every member of its team that bettered Pender by seven shots to win the state title.

Pender prevailed some 300 miles from home to finish this year’s championship with an 11 stroke advantage over the Eagles and grab the school’s first-ever state golf championship.

“We talked about those seven strokes a lot the last couple of weeks,” said Pender coach, Luke Hoffman. “It didn’t consume us, but we definitely didn’t forget about it – I told our guys seven shots over a 36-hole tournament is nothing, they all needed to make up a couple of strokes.”

The Pendragons did just that and rode the wave of three golfers in the top 15 and increasing a 319-328 advantage after the opening 18 holes to the 641-652 final tally.

“It seems like we did everything just right at the right time,” Hoffman said. “And it wasn’t just one guy, it was everybody – our guys were really focused on getting this done.”

Quinton Heineman was the low Pendragon after firing a 79 the final round and a pack-leading one over par 73 on Tuesday.

Heineman was second overall and teammate, Layton Gralheer was right on his heels at 153 and placed third.

“Quinton has been consistently at the top all season and Layton played some of his best golf out here these past two days – you need those kind of performances to win with this kind of competition,” Hoffman said. “We honestly have five guys who are capable of shooting in 70’s, they’ve all worked really hard to get here and finish this thing.”

Trey Johnson was the third Pender golfer in the medals after carding a two-day total of 165 which put him in a three-way tie with Tyson Essex of Loomis and Stuart’s Anthony Heiser for 13th.

Mitchell Kelly rounded out the Pendragon’s scorecard with a 171 which put him in a tie for 26th and Spencer Rabass was the safety net at 186.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” Hoffman said. “They have done everything they’ve been asked to do and more – they really put in the extra work to get better, they really earned this.”

Creighton’s, Gage Burns took medalist honors by following up and opening-round 76 with a 75 to post a total of 151.

Burns was fifth last season and vaulted his way to the top in his senior campaign.

“Gage is a very talented golfer,” Bulldog coach, Chase Maier said after the district tournament. “And he works very hard at getting better in all aspects of his game.”

Jaden Kosch of Humphrey St. Francis finished sixth as an individual with a 157 after tying for the low round on Wednesday with a 75. The Flyers finished fourth in the team’s race with a two-day total of 687.

Chase Furstenau from Neligh-Oakdale and William Jesse of Chambers-Wheeler Central finished in a tie for 16th at 166 just one spot out of the medals.

Neligh-Oakdale finished tied for fifth with Lawrense-Nelson (694), Elgin Public/Pope John was 11th (720) and Hartington-Newcastle came in 13th (767).


1. Pender (319/322) 641; 2. Overton (328/324) 652; 3. Loomis (346/331) 677; 4. Humphrey St. Francis (348/339) 687; 5. Lawrence-Nelson (355/339) 694; 5. Neligh-Oakdale (334/360) 694; 7. Perkins County (349/359) 708; 8. Hitchcock County 351/362) 713; 9. Sandy Creek (368/346) 714; 10. Bridgeport (355/361) 716; 11. Elgin Public/Pope John (355-365) 720; 12. Elmwood-Murdock (369/361) 730; 13. Hartington-Newcastle (385/382) 767; 14. Hemingford (385/393) 778; 15. Burwell (385/419) 804.

1. Gage Burns, Creighton, (76/75) 151; 2. Quinton Heineman, Pender, (73/79) 152; 3. Layton Gralheer, Pender, (76/77) 153; 4. Zaybreon Hansen, Perkins County, (74/80) 154; 5. Carter Milton, Exeter-Milligan, (79/77) 156; 6. Jaden Kosch, Humphrey St. Francis, (82/75) 157; 7. Braden Fleischman, Overton, (82/76) 158; T8. Kaden Lux, Overton, (82/76) 158; T8. Wesley Trompke, Loomis, (80/80) 160; 10. Jake Dane, Sandy Creek, (85/76) 161; T11. Connor Shively, Overton, (80/84) 164; T11. Jacob Holzfaster, Paxton, (80/84) 164; T13. Tyson Essex, Loomis, (86/79) 165; T13. Trey Johnson, Pender, (85/80) 165; T13. Anthony Heiser, Stuart, (83/82) 165.