DAKOTA DUNES | When it comes to match play, nobody was better than the late Mike Jividen, whose name is on the trophy presented to the winner of the Jividen Cup, created in his honor.
There is, however, a young man from Sergeant Bluff doing his best to emulate Jividen, who won seven Sioux Valley Amateur Match Play titles among many other golf tournaments before he died in 1992.
Corey Matthey, at the tender age of 20, won his third consecutive Jividen Cup title Sunday, turning back Morningside College teammate Cody Holck 2 and 1 in the championship match at Dakota Dunes Country Club.
And, with his victory, the talented shotmaker also wrapped up Sioux City Journal Siouxland Player of the Year honors for the second straight year. Siouxland Player of the Year is determined through a season-long points system.
Matthey got off to a blazing start in his match against Holck, an Ankeny, Iowa, resident and another member of Coach Todd Sapp’s talent-laden Mustang squad. He made four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, getting his eagle on the par-5 7th hole, but despite making another birdie on No. 10, only led Holck by three shots.
Holck trimmed it to one shot heading to the 14th hole before Matthey closed it out for his third Jividen win, flirting with the rarified air occupied by the tournament’s namesake.
“To see all those names on the trophy, all the veterans that are still winning, it’s great,” Matthey said. “It’s all about match play, I usually play well in match play tournaments, I don’t really know how to describe it.”
Matthey opened the tournament with a 5 and 4 win over Tyler Kirkholm on Saturday before defeating Colin Mitchell in the second round. He won a semifinal match 6 and 5 over Alex Kazos on Sunday.
It was an interesting weekend, to say the least, for Bill Mathers.
He was hooked up in an intense Leo Division (50-over) match with Joe Ward, a former Sioux Cityan now residing in Des Moines, when play was suspended Saturday night because of darkness. Ward, in fact, had a 1-up lead when action was halted.
So Mathers drove all the way back to Dakota Dunes from his home in Cushing, Iowa, early Sunday morning and was faced with an eight-foot putt on No. 17 to extend the match, and made it. He then sank a four-footer to win it on No. 18.
That sent him to Sunday’s Leo Division semifinal, where he downed Kevin Schwaderer 4 and 3. Mathers then took on the surprise story of the tournament, Jim LeMoine, who upset Bret Taylor of Booneville, Iowa, 3 and 2, in the other semifinal. Mathers defeated LeMoine 6 and 5.
“I wasn’t sure whether it would be just one putt and turn around and head back home, but it turned out good,” Mathers said. “If I was going to win I expected Bret to be in there but Jim really played well and made a lot of putts. Luckily for me in our match the putts quit dropping.
“This is really special, especially at this course because it tests every part of your game. It’s stressful, especially the greens. It’s just a deal of hanging in there. I was down two or three holes a couple times this weekend but you just have to hang in there and things turned around.”
Mathers, who will turn 68 next month, is a Sioux Valley Amateur Match Play champion and reached the finals again this year, losing to Matthey. Taylor, a former club professional in the Sioux City area, is a three-time Sioux Valley champion.
Along with his Leo Division win (named in honor of Leo Jividen, Mike’s father), Mathers earned enough points to capture Siouxland Senior Player of the Year honors.
The Jividen Cup had been played at Covington Links in South Sioux City but moved to The Dunes on a rotating basis this year.
“It was a pleasure for us to be able to host this event,” Dakota Dunes head professional Justin Arlt said. “The guys were very complimentary and happy to be here. We had never done this before so we were happy to be able to do that.”