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

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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.

TEAM COMPETITION

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 AmateurGolf.com. Results and Thursday pairings are available by clicking “pairings and results”