CHARLESTON, SC (Sept. 30, 2011) -- Brady Exber of Las Vegas birdied the final hole of regulation and then birdied the second hole of sudden death Friday to edge Dennis Helms of Monroe, N.C., in the Senior Azalea Invitational golf tournament played at the Country Club of Charleston.
Exber, playing for the first time in the tournament for amateur golfers 55 and older, shot a final-round 3-under-par 68 for his 210 total while Helms recorded his third straight 70. Bill Leonard of Kennesaw, Ga., finished third at 212, and 36-hole leader Frank Ford of Charleston was fourth at 213.
Tommy Ford of Mount Pleasant, 67, became the first player to win the Senior Azalea and the Super Senior division for players 65 and older.
Ford, who fractured his right shoulder earlier this year but has been able to continue to practice, rallied from two shots back with a final-round 72 and finished at 215, one shot ahead of Benny Tumbleston of Meggett, Arnold Edwards of Charlotte, Andy Wall of Tyler, Texas and Jon Verity of Beaufort.
Exber has played in the Azalea Invitational six times, but this was his first opportunity in the Senior Azalea after turning 55 in March.
"This feels great. I love Charleston. I love this golf course and this club supports amateur golf like no other course in the country," Exber said.
Exber, a retired hotel executive, made four birdies (2, 5, 15 and 18) and only one bogey (3). He said he had struggled with his game and had spent the summer working on his swing, which began to feel good a few weeks ago.
After tying Helms in regulation, he hit a sand wedge from 95 yards to less than two feet for the winning birdie on the second extra hole.