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'Dreaming big' and a string of birdies lead LPX's Kolbas to another record state title run

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NORFOLK — Last year Nicole Kolbas wowed the state when she won the Class A girls state golf tournament with a two-day course-record score of 140. She won by a remarkable 12 shots.

And this year the Lincoln Pius X junior wowed everybody again.

Kolbas made it back-to-back state titles, and bettered her previous record with a score of 136. She opened with a 5-under 67 on Monday, and closed with a 69 on Tuesday at Norfolk Country Club.

This year she took a six-shot lead to the final tee box, and won by six shots. Kaitlyn Hanna from Omaha Westside was second, Kate Strickland from Lincoln Southwest was third and Katelyn Ruge from Millard North was fourth.

Kolbas credits a strong field of players in the state right now, with several NCAA Division I recruits, for pushing her to her current success.

Kolbas said she probably couldn’t dream of shooting 136, but she also didn’t tell herself it wasn’t attainable.

“It’s golf,” she said. “You never know what’s possible, right? You can’t cut yourself short. If you dream big, it’s always possible. But if you don’t dream big enough, you can never achieve anything.”

Kolbas is very competitive but says she allows herself to have fun while playing even in the pressure-packed state tournament. She says you can’t take it too seriously.

“Golf is a game of misses, and it’s whoever makes the least amount of misses, and not as bad of misses,” Kolbas said. “So for me if you see me frown on the course, it probably won’t be for very long.”

Girls state golf results, 10/12

On Tuesday, Kolbas pulled away when she had a stretch of four straight birdies.

It was one of those moments when the hole seems big.

“Once I hit greens, I had such a good inkling that I knew I could probably roll it in the hole,” she said.

Jim Danson, the Lincoln Southwest coach retiring after 30 years, said Kolbas put on a show over two days.

Before Kolbas' wins at state the past two years, the winning scores were 152, 158, 156 and 165.

Now Kolbas is going low.

“She really played premium golf,” Danson said. “The last two days she got this golf course figured out. She really got it going. She’s no doubt one of the best.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.


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Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent Wagner has worked at the Journal Star for 19 years, including 11 years covering the Nebraska volleyball program. His other beats include Nebraska women’s basketball, high school cross country and high school soccer.

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