ELK POINT, S.D. – Nick Dreckman added the Elk Point Early Bird to his long list of golf tournament victories, prevailing in a playoff Saturday at The Pointe Golf & Events Center.
Le Mars, Iowa, resident Dreckman won a playoff with three-time defending champion Corey Matthey and 2018 Men’s City champ Colin Mitchell after each shot 109 through 27 holes. The start of Saturday's event was delayed by a couple of hours because of fog.
Dreckman and Matthey, a Morningside College linkster and the Sioux City Journal Siouxland Player of the Year each of the last three years, each made birdie on the first extra hole while Mitchell was eliminated with a par.
On the second playoff hole, Matthey had the misfortune of hitting his second shot out of bounds, paving the way for Dreckman to win with a routine par.
“I’ve only played in this three or four times, it’s a good one to get,” said Dreckman, a multiple winner of Sioux City “major” tournaments. “Mother Nature hasn’t been too kind to us but you get out there when you can.”
Dreckman fired a 2-under-par 70 on the first 18 holes with 36-34. Matthey (36-37) and Mitchell (37-36) trailed by three shots but charged into the playoff with 36 on the last nine while Dreckman shot 39.
“I parred one on the back nine and then hit one out of bounds on the in-course out of bounds (No. 2) and made 8,” Dreckman said. “Colin made birdie and actually jumped ahead at that point. We battled it out and he had a guy in front of us letting us know where we stood so I knew we were all tied with two to play. I made a couple of pars in and it was good enough to get in the playoff.”
Ray Sencenbaugh finished five shots in back of the playoff combatants for fourth place at 114, while Tom Leif and Brian Barto tied for fifth at 115.
“I made three birdies and only one bogey on the first 18 holes,” Dreckman said. “I didn’t make a lot of putts, but it was pretty solid. I just hacked it around and got it in.”
Chris Leif was two shots behind Dreckman heading into the last nine but slipped on the final nine. Matthey made a bid to win this event for the fourth straight time as he and Mitchell fought back from three down to force extra play.
“Every time we play those guys are always right there at the end,” Dreckman said. “It’s a good test of golf to play against those guys.”
With his victory, Dreckman gets a leg up on the Siouxland Player of the Year race. Next on the schedule is the first “major” of the season, the Tri-State Masters, set for May 17-19.
A new course will be added to the rotation this year. The first round on Friday will be held at The Bluffs in Vermillion, South Dakota, before the second round shifts to Covington Links in South Sioux City on Saturday. The final round Sunday will be played at Green Valley in Sioux City.
Tyler Hohenstein won the Presidential Flight, which also consisted of 27 holes, by three shots over Tyler Schultz. The remaining flights played 18 holes.
Ryan Larsen, Jim Rupp, Dave Davis and Rob Keilman were the other flight winners. The traditional season-opening stroke play event drew a full field and, as usual, juicy steaks were awarded as prizes.