CARMEL, Calif. (October 27, 2012) – Brady Exber slapped at a drive on his final hole, half-laughing while he watched it with a one-handed follow-through.
“I don’t have much confidence in my swing,” said Exber, a member of the Las Vegas Hall of Fame. “Every shot I hit feels like that.”
Maybe he should start teaching that swing. Throughput three days at the Stocker Cup, it’s been better than everyone else in the prestigious national amateur field.
Exber tied for the low round of the day on Saturday, shooting a two-under 70 at The Preserve Golf Club, and will protect a one-stroke lead over two-time Stocker Cup champion Kevin Marsh heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I wish I had a little more confidence in my swing,” said Exber, who is two-under for the tournament. “I shot 75 the first day, and that feels like how I’m playing, not 69, 70. I’m very surprised.”
Exber began the third round tied for the lead with Mike Rowley, who shot a 74 and sits in third place, four strokes back at two over. Exber has shot five-under the last two rounds, giving himself a seven-stroke cushion over fourth place.
“Brady is playing well,” said Rowley when he heard about Exber’s third round. “That’s very good playing. There are a lot of really good players who can have a hot round, but you can also go backwards out here.”
Marsh felt like he got his worst round of the tournament out of the way on Friday when he shot 74, before bouncing back to tie Exber’s 70 on Saturday.
“My theory out here is in a four-round tournament, you are going to have one really bad round, and if you can limit the damage to 75 or better, then you’re OK,” said Marsh, who won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
The only other player to shoot under par on Saturday was Heath Myers, who fired a 71 to climb into a tie for fourth with Robert Funk at five over. Myers has had an uphill battle since opening with a 78, but his last two rounds have been 72-71.
“I definitely thought it was a couple shots harder than yesterday,” Marsh said. “You try to make par on every hole and sneak in a couple birdies on the par 5s.”
Edward Sanchez began Saturday one stroke off the lead, but posted a 78 to fall into a tie for seventh with defending Stocker Cup champion Randy Haag, who shot 77.
First-round leader David Nelson showed that its difficult to get too comfortable at the Preserve, making the cut on the number (68-82-75) to sneak inside the top 16 and ties.
“You can play well and shoot over par easily out here,” Marsh said.
Notes Dan Lynch held off Tom Graunke by one stroke to win the Elliott Cup. Lynch, who had an ace at No. 16 on Friday, teamed up with Roman Mudd to finish at 20 under. Lynch’s group shot 67 Saturday after posting a 63 Friday, and a 66 in the opening round. The Elliott Cup is calculated by pairing one of the scratch “A” player with a “B” Player competing at 90% of his assigned handicap. After opening with rounds of 70 and 69 while paired with Exber, Paul Hamilton tied a Stocker Cup record with a 59 to zoom all the way into a tie for third with Mike Machette at 18 under in the “B” field. Exber is also leading the Tatum Cup, a sub-tournament for players 50 and over. Exber has an 11-shot lead over Nelson. Bob Burton is 12 back, while Dan Bieber is 14 behind.