Happy Hollow Club’s Mike Antonio received his 2021 Nebraska PGA Golf Professional of the Year award at the association’s recent spring meeting.

This is the second time that Antonio, director of golf at Happy since 2001, has been so honoured. He was also the 2014 recipient.

A PGA member since 1984, Antonio started out at Lakeshore Country Club (now Council Bluffs Country Club), then served as an assistant to the late John Frillman at Happy before being hired as a PGA Professional Chef at Norfolk Country Club. He returned to Happy after Frillman’s retirement.

Antonio is a Bellevue West graduate whose late father, Anthony, was a retired Air Force master sergeant who had worked for Fred Guerrero in the Capehart (now Willow Lakes) golf shop at AFB ‘Offt.

His most recent contributions to the association have been through PGA REACH Nebraska, its charitable arm since 2013 which serves more than 25,000 young people each year through the Golf N Schools program; PGA HOPE Nebraska which introduces golf to veterans; and, last year, the FORE Youth Clubs which provided new equipment to all Omaha Public School girls’ teams.

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Other 2021 PGA of Nebraska honors went to Jon Petersen of Tiburon in Omaha as Teacher of the Year; Dawn Neujahr of Champions Run in Omaha for PGA Professional Development; Bob Baber of the Omaha City Courts for Club Relations; Rodd Slater of Two Rivers in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, for young player development; Clay Stevens of Grand Falls Casino and Resort in Brandon, South Dakota, for Public Course Merchandiser of the Year; Joe Wiegand of Benson Park in Omaha for player development; Scotts Bluff County Club’s Maxwell Hadenfeldt for Private Lessons Dealer of the Year; Lochland Country Club in Hastings as Property of the Year; Mizuno’s Tyler Schaaf as Sales Representative of the Year; Lincoln Country Club’s Nickolaus St. Onge as Professional Assistant of the Year; and Joe Canny of UNL’s PGA Golf Management with the Patriot Award.

Additionally, Wilderness Ridge’s Sarah Pravecek is one of 10 new members of the PGA of America’s PGA LEAD Class for two-year leadership training.

State Tournament Schedule

Lincoln will host the state men’s and women’s amateur championships in back-to-back weeks, with the men July 25-28 at Firethorn and the women August 1-3 at Wilderness Ridge.

Also on the Nebraska Golf Association’s season schedule are the Women’s First Prize, State Match Play Tournament, at the Elks Country Club in Columbus May 31-June 2 and the Men’s Match Play June 20-24 at Riverside at Grand Island. The US Open local qualifier will take place on May 11 at the Omaha Country Club.

NGA Tournaments: Four-Ball Men, April 23-24, Players Club, Omaha; Women’s match play, May 31-June 2, Elks, Columbus; Girls match play, June 6-8, Platteview, Bellevue; Boys match play, 6-9 June, Platteview; Nebraska Cup pro-am games, June 9, Omaha CC; Men’s match play, June 20-24, Riverside, Grand Island; Senior Amateur, June 29-30, Champions Run, Omaha; Boys and Girls Amateurs, July 6-8, Wayne; Nebraska Amateur, July 25-28, Firethorn, Lincoln; Nebraska Women’s Amateur, Aug. 1-3, Wilderness Ridge, Lincoln; Mid-amateur, August 27-28, Landmand, Homer; Interclub team, September 19, Wild Horse, Gothenburg; Senior Match Play, September 20-22, Wild Horse; Women’s Mid-Amateur, September 24-25, Fremont; Nebraska Intercollegiate, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Norfolk CC.

USGA Qualifiers: Local US Open, May 11, Omaha CC; US Girls Junior and (Boys) Junior Amateur, June 14, Awarii Dunes, Axtell; American amateur, July 18, Beatrice CC; U.S. senior amateur, Aug. 2, Oak Hills, Omaha; US Mid-Amateur, August 16, Shadow Ridge, Omaha; US Amateur Four Ball (2023), October 7, Landmand, Homer.

First Tee adds Tiburon

Tiburon Golf Club will join the Omaha-area family of courses hosting the Hogan’s Junior Golf Heroes Foundation/First Tee Omaha summer lineup.

Other First Tee Omaha venues are the par-3 Steve Hogan at Miller Park, Spring Lake Park, Indian Creek, Pacific Springs, Elkhorn Ridge, Eagle Hills at Papillion, and Platteview at Bellevue.

In addition to its educational series, First Tee Omaha offers a new adult-kid league and access to the PGA Junior League. Go to www.firstteeomaha.org for information.

Steve Hogan Jr., whose late father started the youth program in the 1990s at Miller Park, is entering his second year as chairman of the board of Hogan’s Heroes.

Youth Pre-Gift Program

First Tee Omaha, with the cooperation of the Nebraska Golf Association, is implementing a forecaddie program focused on recruiting underserved youth ages 10-15.

Designed as an introduction to the aspects of championship golf and to identify career options in golf, the program will use forward caddies as ball spotters or, for the Pinnacle Bank Championship in August, as flag bearers at four events during the summer. There will be $6,000 in scholarships available based on commitment and performance. Go to www.firstteeomaha.org for more information.​

Pinnacle Bank Programs

The Pinnacle Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, scheduled for August 11-14 in Indian Creek, added a few spots in its Monday GolfStatus pro-am which was sold out. The Dormie Network Wednesday pro-am has also been sold out for a long time.

Monday foursomes are $5,650. Contact Tracy Fisher at the tournament office, 402-991-2525.

Omahan’s new project

Omaha Burke graduate Blake Conant has teamed up with one of golf course architect Tom Doak’s top associates, Blake Schneider, to design an 18-hole course, Old Barnwell near Aiken, NC Sud, which is due to open in 2023.

Course developer Nick Schreiber told Golfweek magazine he was trying to extend the “second golden age of golf architecture” beyond Doak, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner ( all Nebraska course designers).

“Preeminent architects of the past 20 to 30 years have helped create such a remarkable crop of young talent,” Schreiber said. “When Old Barnwell was just an idea, I knew I wanted to not only find a great site, but also give someone who deserved the chance to do something great.”

Conant’s first experience in golf course construction was a summer internship with Doak building Dismal River’s second course. He owns Dundee Golf, based in Omaha.