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Early Bird Qualifying for SV Match Play starts

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Early Bird Qualifying rounds for the 77th annual Sioux Valley Amateur Men's Match Play golf championship began on Saturday, and continue through June 10th. Qualifying rounds will be played June 11 - 17th to determine flights, and the final rounds will take place at the Cherokee Country Club on June 18th and 19th.

"Match play" is a competition format, in which the round is played with the goal of winning individual holes. For example, on No. 1, if you score 4 and your opponent gets a 5 - you win the hole.

Scoring is kept by comparing the holes won by each player. If each has won the same number of holes, the match is said to be "all square". If you have won 4 holes and your opponent has won 3, you are said to be "1-up" while your foe is "1-down."

Final score reflects the margin of victory and the hole at which the match ended. If the match goes the full 18 holes, the score would be 1-up or 2-up. If it ends before the 18th, the score would look like "3-and-2" (the winner was 3 holes up with only two holes to play, thus ending the match early).

"Halved" is a match play term that means a hole or match was tied. In match play, the goal is to win individual holes, and to win the match by winning the most holes. When a hole is tied - both players in the match score 4s - it is said to be "halved," and the players are said to have achieved a "halve." Of course, "halve" is poor grammar (it should be "half," after all), but "halve" is what's used. A match is halved when both players win the same number of holes.

The late Mike Jividen of Sioux City heads the list of Sioux Valley champions with seven - count 'em - seven championships - in 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1985.

Three-time winners include the late Loyal Martin of Cherokee (1951,1959,1962) Pat O'Bryan of Sioux City (1982,1991,1992) and Norman Capps of Overland Park, Kan. (1970, 1972, 1995).

Two-time winners include Walt Adamson in 1931 and 1932; Milo McWilliams,1933 and 1934; Don Webb,1949 and 1950; Bob Leahy,1952 and 1953; Irv Sorenson, 1954 and 1956; Bob Astleford,1955 and 1958; Dean Prince,1960 and 1965; Dr. George Hirschman,1963 and 1964; Phil Vander Ploeg,1966 and 1969; and Todd Sapp, 2005 and 2006.

Father and son Bob and Mark Northcraft have each won a Sioux Valley Amateur, with Bob winning in 1967 and Mark winning exactly ten years later, in 1977.

The reigning champ is River Valley High School Athletic Director Bill Mathers of Cushing, who defeated 2000 Sioux Valley champ Brian Schultz of Le Mars, 2-1, to win the Championship Flight of the 2010 Sioux Valley Am.

Mathers, now 61, parlayed solid "par" golf in grinding his way through four 18-hole match-play matches on Saturday and Sunday last year. He beat Jason Ruba of Remsen, 9 & 7, in his opener on Saturday, and then took out last year's qualifying medalist, Nick Dreckman of Remsen, 3 & 2. He then defeated Shane Bellefy of Minneapolis, 3 & 2, in Sunday's semifinal, before handling Schultz in the finals.

Mathers, who started playing in the Sioux Valley Am back in the late 1960s, when he was in college and missed some years when he was coaching, usually tries to play the Sioux Valley Amateur.

"It's a great course and tournament," said Mathers after last year's win, " and ranks right up there with any golf tournament around, including all those in Sioux City. This is one big feather in my cap."

Mathers also said he loves playing the Cherokee Country Club course. "For just nine holes, it has about everything you need to have every shot in golf - uphill, downhill, sidehill, and flat shots. It's in beautiful condition. The Sioux Valley is great because it's so unique, which makes it more fun. There's the qualifying and the match-play golf format, and the people here are very cordial and very knowledgeable about the game."

A Calcutta supper will be held at the Cherokee Country Club on Friday night June 17, and Tony Bohnenkamp will be performing after the supper.

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