OMAHA — Earlier in the week, professional golfer Lanto Griffin shared on social media that this week’s stop on the Korn Ferry Tour was one of his top-three favorite courses of the year, and he still felt that way on Sunday evening after a top-10 finish in the Pinnacle Bank Championship.
This was the third year for the Pinnacle Bank Championship at The Club at Indian Creek, and the stop has quickly earned a good reputation from the pros. The tournament is on the tour that’s one step below the PGA Tour.
Griffin played in the final group on Sunday and finished tied for fourth with a four-day total of 273 to earn $22,620. Former Oklahoma State golfer Ventura of Norway won by two shots with a total of 16-under-par to win $108,000.
The 31-year-old Griffin lives in Florida and has played 47 events on this tour over four years and has also played in 28 PGA Tour events. He also played this tournament in 2017, when he tied for 14th.
What does it take to make Griffin’s list of top courses?
“Just really good shape, good layout, no funny business, fun to play,” Griffin said. “A lot of the courses we play aren’t in good shape and don’t have rough. This place is really good.”
And what type of courses doesn’t Griffin like?
“Just easy country-club type layouts that don’t have rough, and the greens are flat,” Griffin said.
Indian Creek is in good shape and has a good layout, Griffin said.
“You kind of got to think your way around it, and if you’re playing well it feels easy, and when you’re not playing that great it’s tough,” Griffin said. “Some courses you can get away with hitting bad shots. This is a little bit more of a tour course with the rough it has, and the greens have a lot of slope on them, so you got to think your way around it.”
In 2018 the tournament was named the best of the season on the tour in a vote of players.
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And unlike some courses on tour, Indian Creek is open to the public and not a members-only facility. That includes on Monday, when the public can play the course with the same tee and hole locations as the pros played on Sunday. There are still tee times available for Monday.
Kristoffer Ventura won for the second time in his last four starts, and because it was his second win of the season, he secured his PGA Tour card for next season.
“I’m really happy and proud of everyone who has been involved in this, and I can’t wait to play on the PGA Tour,” Ventura said.
Scott Gutschewski once again used the hometown advantage to have one of his best finishes. The ex-Husker from Omaha shot a 67 on Sunday to finish in a tie for ninth place to earn $13,886. His only other top-10 finish in 14 events this season was a tie for ninth in June in South Carolina.
Gutschewski improved by six shots from Saturday, taking advantage of favorable wind on some holes and softer greens.
His caddy this week was his son, Luke, a high school state champion golfer for Mount Michael. But he won’t be getting a cut of dad’s prize money.
“My line about Luke is that Luke is the cheapest and most expensive caddy I’ve ever had,” Gutschewski said. “So he will not be getting a check. But he’s getting (Mount Michael) tuition and room and board.”
Scott Gutschewski will return the favor on Monday and caddy 36 holes for Luke in the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Shadow Ridge in Omaha.
Luke Kluver, the recent high school graduate from Norfolk and only amateur in the tournament, struggled in the final two rounds after making the weekend cut. He shot 76 on Saturday and 79 on Sunday to finish 67th.
Playing with pro golfers on the weekend, Kluver said he got a lot of experience and learned a lot.
“They obviously limit the mistakes,” said Kluver of the pros. “I had more doubles (bogies) than anyone in the last two days. I played with Marcelo (Rozo) today, and I don’t think he had a double. He’s hitting in the middle of the green.”