SIOUX CITY -- The novelty of competing for a victory with his coach didn’t faze Corey Matthey on Sunday.
The Morningside College senior cruised to a nine-shot win in the River-Cade Amateur at Green Valley Golf Club.
In a unique final grouping, Matthey was paired with Morningside golf coach Todd Sapp. Matthey had a three-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round and increased that to four before firing a scorching 32 over the last nine holes.
Just shy of his 23rd birthday, Matthey pocketed his second River-Cade title, having also won in 2016. The Sergeant Bluff resident has also claimed three Men’s City crowns.
The 59-year-old Sapp, who seemed to re-discover his game this weekend, had a chance to cut into the lead midway through the final nine.
Matthey, though, curled in a 15-foot birdie after Sapp had stuffed his approach to about four feet on No. 4. He then rolled in a 30-foot bomb for another birdie on the par-3 fifth.
Another birdie followed on the par-5 sixth, where Sapp went into the water on his second shot and made double bogey.
After his only blemish, a three-putt bogey on the par-3 seventh, Matthey sealed his fifth Sioux City ‘major’ triumph with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 9.
“I feel like I’m right there in most of these majors and obviously I want to win as much as I can,” Matthey said. “I felt my game has been trending on the upward direction since the Tri-State (in May). I had a little bit of a lead going into today. I didn’t really know what coach would shoot and I just wanted to keep playing my own game.”
Matthey fired a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s opening round and 70 over the first 18 holes Sunday. Throw in his 4-under 32 and that adds up to a 10-under 168 over 45 holes.
“The first 18 today was a little sloppy, I had a couple water balls on 2 and 10, but other than that it was good enough,” Matthey said. “It was good to have a lead because I know coach is a grinder and he can get it rolling. The final nine I just wanted to play clean. I had only one blemish on the card, a double on 2 today. I had one bad swing but other than that I played 44 good holes.”
Sapp, a three-time River-Cade winner, finished a distant second but left knowing he can still compete with much younger opponents.
“Corey is a worthy champion, he is tough to go catch,” Sapp said. “It’s been a long time for me and I’ve got some more work to do, but things are looking better.
“Coaching him for four years, I fully expected Corey to do whatever he was doing out there because he’s done that for Morningside. I’m proud of him, he’s a great kid.”
Sapp wound up at 69-71-37--177, while Keegan Bak, a former Morningside player, was third with 71-72-36--179.
Brett Abbotts, Tyson Bodlak, Colin Mitchell and Brady Nurse each totaled 180. Ayron Corporon (183) and Josh Wendling (184) were the others to make the cut for the final nine holes. Bodlak had the low 18 for the day with 69 while Wendling played in the final threesome with Matthey and Sapp.
Matthey said there was no added pressure playing with Sapp.
“It was a little harder because coach and I are so close, we’ve traveled together and gone to nationals,” Matthey said. “But at the end of the day I’m a competitor, I want to win just as much as I know he does. It was all light-hearted and probably a blessing because I felt even more comfortable than I normally do when I play.”
Matthey, who increased his lead in the Sioux City Journal Siouxland Player of the Year points race, will defend his title at the 107th Men’s City on August 8-9 at Green Valley.
Bill Mathers successfully defended his River-Cade Senior Division title, shooting back-to-back 71s for a 142. The 70-year-old marvel prevailed by five shots over past winner Sam Prue, who shot 75-72--147.
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