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SIOUX CITY – Don’t look now, but the Elk Point Early Bird is only a couple of weeks away.

That, of course, officially opens the season-long race for Siouxland Player of the Year, an honor coveted by all area golfers and dominated of late by Corey Matthey of Sergeant Bluff.

The Morningside College linkster captured his third straight Player of the Year honor last season and has been an immovable force on the local circuit for the last several years.

Matthey, though, will probably relinquish his throne when the dust clears this fall. His plan was to play a final semester at Morningside this spring before possibly relocating to a warmer climate for his senior season.

The Elk Point Early Bird, a 27-hole stroke event at The Pointe Golf & Events Center in Elk Point, South Dakota, is scheduled for Saturday, May 4. That’s the first opportunity for players to start racking up points through a summer-long scoring system that’s been in place for a number of years.

Matthey has won the Early Bird three straight years, defeating Colin Mitchell by one shot. Mitchell went on to win the Men’s City title, while Adam Fields, a former Sioux Cityan now residing in Council Bluffs, captured the other three Sioux City ‘major’ tournaments – the Tri-State Masters, Interstate and River-Cade Amateur.

The only change in this year’s scoring system is that players are eligible to count the Sioux Valley Amateur – Iowa’s oldest match play tournament played at beautiful Cherokee Golf Course – as well as three of the five double point events.

Competitors may count three of five double point events, their best events, plus the Sioux Valley Amateur. There is, however, a limit of four regular events, three double point events and one state event in either Iowa, Nebraska or South Dakota. Club tournaments do not count.

Once again, points will be awarded to the top 16 finishers in each of the designated tournaments, which include the four ‘majors’ as well as selected other events.

Bill Mathers won his second straight Senior Player of the Year honor in 2018, but shared with good friend Jeff Donaldson.

Seedings for the season-ending Jividen Cup Match Play – named in honor of the late Mike and Leo Jividen – will also be determined through the POY competition. The top 12 finishers in the regular season qualify automatically and the final four spots are determined through individual qualifying just prior to the Jividen Cup.

Sioux City’s four ‘major’ tournaments are the Tri-State Masters (May 17, 18, 19), Interstate (June 1-2), River-Cade (July 13-14) and the Men’s City (Aug. 10-11).

The five double point events are the Tri-State Masters, Interstate, River-Cade, Whispering Creek Invitational, Men’s City and Jividen Cup.

First place in each of the majors and double points events is worth 400 points. All senior events are regular points, with the exception of the Jividen Cup. Seniors count four events, which include the Siouxland Senior Open, being moved to June 7 this year from its traditional spot in mid-May at Two Rivers Golf Club.

The entire list of POY point tournaments, as well as point breakdowns for 1 through 16, are included with this column.

ELK POINT EARLY BIRD

The championship flight will play 27 holes and all of the other flights 18 holes in the traditional season opening Elk Point Early Bird on May 4 at the Pointe Golf & Event Center.

Entry fee is $55 for the championship flight and $40 for other flights. Tee times call be reserved by calling (605) 356-2874.

As usual, prizes of juicy steaks will be awarded to the winners. Space is limited, so register as soon as possible to ensure your spot in the field.

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