SONOMA, Calif. (October 24, 2014) — The temperatures stayed high for the final round of the 2014 Stocker Cup, but the scores once again came down, and in the end a playoff was needed between Brady Exber and Herbie Aikens to crown a champion. When the dust settled, Exber completed a wire-to-wire victory with a par on the 1st playoff hole. In was a late charge by Aikens, who had 5 birdies and 3 bogeys in a final round 70, which looked like it might be enough to give him the championship, after Exber missed his tee-shot on the final hole of regulation to the right of the fairway. Although his line to the green was obstructed by some trees, he was able to hit a small cut around the trees and found his ball in the rough left of the green. With the hole location on the same side, he faced a difficult shot that he had to get up and down.
“I feel like I have a solid short game, so I thought I could get it up and down” Exber stated, adding, “I got it to within 5-feet of the hole and then called in my partner (Jim Fisher) to confirm the read, and then I knocked it in the middle of the hole.”
It wasn’t Exber’s best golf in round 3, as he missed a short put on the 11th and stood in the middle of the 16th fairway a couple over for the day, that was when he hit what he feels was the shot of the tournament, a 3-wood from 274 yards that finished just through the green where he was able to get down in 2 for a birdie.
“That’s a big 3-wood for me, really on my limit, but I nailed it and it’s a shot I’ll remember for a long time” he stated after the round.In the playoff, both players found the fairway and Aikens hit his approach first, to about 25 feet. Exber followed with a little pitching wedge from 104 yards that stopped just 10 feet away from the cup. Aikens then got a little bold with his putt and rolled it 5 feet past the hole, but when Exber missed his birdie, it looked like the playoff would go to a 2nd hole. That wasn’t needed, as Aikens’ par attempt slid by the hole giving the title to Exber and giving him a fantastic year of tournament victories. It was Exber’s first time playing Sonoma Golf Club and he came away impressed, especially with the par-3′s, on which he made 4 birdies over the 3 rounds. “I’m really happy, there are some great names on that trophy and the guys that were here are really good” he said in closing. Defending champion John Sawin got the round of the day with an impressive score of 68.
It was a clean sweep, as Exber and Fisher took home the low net championship with an epic 199 total. Fisher was the glue that held the team together in the final round, firing an even-par 72 on his own ball to outplay his A partner. Bryan Hoops and Chris Strahan took home the gross title with a 204 total.
There was also a 1-day Stableford event for the B players that failed to make the cut, and in the gross division, John Nichols took home the title with a 30-point total, while Jerome Joodeph did 10 points better to take home the net division with 40 points.
It was a good day for Sonoma Golf Club members when it came to skins, with Mike Parnow walking away with a skin for birdie on the 1st hole, while Ryan Snow picked up his 2nd skin of the week with a birdie 2 on the 14th hole.