Brady Exber fires 68, takes first round lead at 2014 Stocker Cup

Brady-Exber-StockerIt has been almost 20 years since the Stocker Cup was first played at the Sonoma Golf Club in Sonoma, California. This year’s event has returned to the gorgeous Wine Country setting, on a 1923 Sam Whiting layout that winds through old growth oak trees with vineyards all around the perimeter. And once again the tournament honoring Peter Stocker brings some of the top amateurs from around the country to the West Coast to compete in a unique A and B player format.

Clear skies and light breezes greeted the players on day one and no one took better advantage than Brady Exber, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Exber got off to a fantastic start by making birdies on four of his first five holes, and adding another at the 11th and another at the difficult par-3 14th, before making his only mistake of the day with a double-bogey on the tough dogleg right 15th. It’s a continuation of a dream season for Exber — a member of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame — as he has taken top honors at the British Senior Amateur, along with winning his 4th straight Azalea Senior Amateur and following that up with a victory at the Yeamans Hall Invitational a week later.

Two shots back of Exber was the duo of Jerry Ledzinski and Herbie Aikens with their fine rounds of 70. Ledzinski, who finished T- 2 at the 2011 Stocker Cup, played a very steady 16 par and 2 birdie round, while Aikens’ round was highlighted by an eagle 3 on the par-5 16th. San Rafael’s Kevin Kobalter was the remaining under-par round with a 1-under 71 that included a bogey on the always difficult par-3 4th, offset by birdies on the 9th and 13th.


On the team side of things, Exber and his partner, Santa Rosa’s Jim Fisher, along with Sonoma Golf Club member Mark Mance and his partner Scott Clark and Hillsborough’s Nick Ushijima and Andrew Doll all matched cards with Net 64′s, giving them all a piece of the lead after day 1. The field is tightly bunched however, as more than a dozen teams are within 4-shots of the lead including the always dangerous duo of Jeff Wilson and George Kelley. It was Sonoma Golf Club that Wilson played in the first round of qualifying for the 2000 US Open, before making it on the number and eventually being low amateur at Pebble Beach.

The shot of the day belonged to Sonoma Golf Club member, Ryan Snow. Snow, who recently won the Sonoma Golf Club stroke- play club championship, was heading to his last hole, the short uphill par-4 9th, sitting at 8-over par on the tee when he realized his B player partner Michael Ahern was tied with him gross. “”I better do something (on here or my B player is going to beat me,” Snow lamented then proceeded to drive into the fairway and hole his 56 degree wedge from 86 yards for an eagle-2. That eagle was good enough for one of just two skins that went out on the day, the other going to Aikens and his partner Casey Cowell for an eagle on the 16th. With all players “opting in” to the skins game, those four have a little spending money.

NOTE: Story by Rich Davison, for Results and Thursday pairings are available by clicking “pairings and results”

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