Pocahontas native nicks former champ Schultz 1-up
J.D. Anderson, one of the top amateur golfers in Iowa, ventured onto the Cherokee Golf & Country Club for the first time last week and apparently liked what he found, as he strolled to the victory stand Sunday afternoon as champion of the 2007 Sioux Valley Men's Amateur Match-Play Tournament.
The Pocahontas native now living in Des Moines nicked 2000 Sioux Valley Am champ Brian Schultz of Le Mars 1-up in an exciting finals match filled with superb golf by both men. Anderson, a Wayne State graduate, was three-under in his final round when he finally beat Schultz with a par on the 18th hole of their see-saw match.
Schultz made the finals by beating Ayron Korporan of Sioux City 3-2, former Cherokean David Greenwood of Omaha, Neb., 3-2, and two-time defending champion Todd Sapp of Sioux City 1-up in the semifinals.
"This is really a classy tournament," said Anderson from the clubhouse after his big win. "I really enjoy all the people here and I love the course. It has a lot of character and is in really good shape.
"My strengths are to keep it in the middle and putting. The soft greens allowed me to shoot right at the pins, which helps my game. The greens are true with good speed. I was three-under in the last round and I really wanted to end it on a birdie at 18, but I made a par and won it.
"Brian is really a solid golfer and I knew I had my work cut out for me. Todd (Sapp) is cool, too. Maybe we can play each other here in the future."
It was Sapp and Cherokee Golf & Country Club superintendent Ryan Lux who convinced Anderson to give the Sioux Valley Am, Iowa's oldest match-play gof tournament, a shot. This was the 73rd Sioux Valley Am.
"I've known Brian Lockin for a few years and he and Todd always talked about the Sioux Valley Amateur and how fun it is. They were right. I played a nine-hole practice round on Thursday and then qualified that day. Come to think of it, I was never behind in any of my matches.
"I like this course and I will be back. It's a great tournament. It's classy and well-run. I know now what Brian and Todd have been talking about."
Sapp, who won the title in 2005 and 2006, finished third in the championship flight with a 2-1 win over Lockin. Sapp beat Nick Baker of Orange City 3-1 in first round, and then handled Nick Dreckman of Le Mars 3-2, before falling to Schultz in the semis in a match also decided on the 18th hole.
Greg Holmes of Olathe, Kan., won the second flight with a 3-2 win over former Aurelian Eric Sonksen of Des Moines. Holmes beat Aaron Aberson of Orange City 3-2, Josh Cedar of Cherokee 1-up, and Nick Peterson of Correctionville 2-1 to make the finals. Sonksen took out Craig Klatt of Sheldon 2-1, Chris Jenness of Cherokee 2-1, and Cherokee native Jeff Campbell of Niles, Ohio 2-1 to make the finals. Campbell then beat Peterson 4-3 for third place.
Jeff Sailor of Moville won the third flight with a 1-up victory over T.J. Korver of Orange City. Sailor beat Andrew Soderberg of Le Mars 1-up, Ryan Lux of Cherokee 1-up, and Curt Taylor of Des Moines 1-up to get to the finals. Korver beat Chris Jordan of Storm Lake 1-up, Cherokee native Rick Hirschman of Des Moines 2-1, and Jon Miller of Cherokee 2-1 to make the finals. It was Hirschman who dispatched Barry Poe, Sioux City Journal golf writer extraordinaire, 1-up in their opening match. Miller then beat Taylor 4-3 for third place.
Former Cherokean Ken Slater Jr. of Holstein captured the fourth flight with a 1-up win over Al Loebig of Cherokee. Slater beat Tim Gum of Cherokee 2-1, Cherokee grad Rob Deedrick of Urbandale 3-1, and Aaron Hember of Cherokee 1-up to make the finals. Loebig took out Jon Meister of Le Mars 1-up, Nick Tanner of Sheldon 2-1, and Collin Christensen of Cherokee 2-1 to make finals. Christensen then beat Hember 3-2 for third place.
Jeff Nelson, a Cherokee graduate now living in Reedsburg, Wisc., won the fifth flight with a 2-1 victory over Kurt Clabaugh of Cherokee. Nelson beat Rick Skeels of Kansas City, Mo. 5-4, Brett Miller of Milford 1-up, and Cherokee native Jeff Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. 2-1 to make the finals. Clabaugh handled former Cherokean Mike Noah of Sioux Falls, S.D. 3-2, Jim Tritz of Sioux City 1-up, and Jim Rodgers of Cherokee 2-1 to make finals. Rodgers then beat Johnson 1-up for third place.
Zach Mathers of Sioux City claimed sixth-flight honors with a 1-up win over Jason Spooner of Cherokee. Mathers made the finals by beating Tom Kohn of Cushing 3-2, James Hoy of Sioux Falls, S.D. 2-1, and Chris Christensen of Cherokee 2-1. Spooner made the finals by beating Steve Hirschman of Aurelia 4-1, Wayne Stewart of Larrabee 1-up in sudden death, and Mark Joyce of Des Moines 2-1. Joyce beat Christensen 2-1 for third place.
Eli Ellis of Sheldon won the seventh flight with a 5-4 win over former Cherokean Scott Finneman of Urbandale. Ellis had a bye in the first round when his opponent failed to show, beat Norman Plantenberg (no address submitted) 4-3, and Rich Cook of Cherokee 2-1 to make the finals. Finneman found his "mark" and beat Mark Murphy of Cherokee 1-up, Marc Sarchet of Cherokee 1-up, and Mark McCrea of Correctionville 2-up to make the finals. Cook beat McCrea 2-1 for third place.
Anderson, the 2007 Sioux Valley Men's Amateur Match-Play champion, was also medalist this year after qualifying with a 5-under par 67. Schultz and Sapp were runners-up with 71s.
A 1992 graduate of Pocahontas Area, Anderson played on his high school golf team and played a few rounds each summer with Pocahontas native Larry "Butch" Biittner, a 10-year Major League Baseball veteran and former Buena Vista College All-American, who lives in Pocahontas.