Brady Exber (Senior) and Jeff Duncan (Silver) won scratch titles at the 2023 Nevada State Senior Amateur. Michael Haas (Senior) and Brent Bingham (Silver) were the net champions in the tournament held July 20-22, 2023, at Las Vegas National Golf Club. For Exber, he added to his 100+ wins while Duncan earned the title for the second-straight year. –by Bill Bowman, LasVegasGolfInsider.com
For Brady Exber, it’s been a long and winding road.
Exber won the Senior Division of the tournament to reach double figures in state titles during his Southern Nevada career. He won his first state crown, the Nevada State Amateur, back in 1991. In all, he has won more than 100 amateur tournaments locally, on the state level, regionally, nationally and internationally.
“I’ve won a couple of Mid-Ams but I haven’t won a state amateur title since 2008 so this was certainly nice,” he said.
He said his irons played a big role this week.
“My iron play was really good,” he said. “And it hasn’t been over the past 30 days but something got me turned around and I really started hitting them well. Every day I hit three or four really close to the hole.”
The final day was no exception.
“On 10, 11, 12 and 13 I hit it inside of 10 feet on all four holes,” he said. “I made two of the four putts and that turned me around and got me going.”
He added his putting was also solid all three days.
“The putting got better every day,” he said. “If you’re on a course you don’t play a lot, you spend time trying to get acclimated to the greens. The first day I putted pretty well and got a little better yesterday and even a little bit better today.”
In the final round, Exber birdied three of his first six holes on his final nine to help seal the victory….although he wasn’t thrilled with his finish as he played the final three holes five over par.
“I wish I had an excuse for that finish but I don’t,” he said. “I hit a bad shot on 16 and made double. I pulled my next shot on 17 and that cost me when I missed an eight-footer for par. On 18, instead of laying up like I’m supposed to, I wanted to see if I could fit a driver down there and hit it into the lake. It didn’t change the finish but it made the scorecard look very bad.”
In the end, Exber has now reached double figures in state crowns including regular, senior, Mid-Am and match play.
“It’s always nice to win,” he said. “Like I’ve said, you never know when you’re going to win again so you’ve got to enjoy them.”
Brady Exber, 70-71-74—215
Joe Sawaia, 78-68-73—219
Chuck Edler, 75-73-74—222
Gary Carpendale, 73-69-80—222
Michael Haas had net birdies on three of his first five holes in the final round en route to a three-stroke win in the Senior Net Division.
It was Haas’ first state title.
“It’s the best day of my life,” Haas said. “It’s just amazing. I had a lot of strokes to make up (he was four behind heading into the final round) but I just tried to play my game and stay patient.”
It’s a tournament he’s had circled on the calendar.
“I’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a year and a half,” he said. “In fact, I took vacation days to play in this tournament.”
He said his play off the tee was crucial.
“I really hit the driver well,” he said. “I think I only missed one fairway today and that left me with short irons into the greens on almost every hole.”
He added his game kept getting better as the tournament went on.
“I feel like I played better every day,” he said. “The three days is different than the two-day events because you’ve got time to recover. You just can’t get too carried away if you make a bad shot. And you can’t get too ahead of yourself.”
Michael Haas, 72-74-67—213
Luis Morais, 73-69-74—216
Daniel Hannan, 76-76-74—226
Jeff Duncan had birdies on a pair of par 3s in a four-hole stretch during the final round as he defended the title he won last year up North.
The Northern Nevada Golf Association member and Dayton Valley Golf Club member now has two state crowns.
Over the three days, those were Duncan’s only birdies on par-3 holes and he said they definitely were key.
“Those two really did get me going,” he said of the birdies. “I started off just the way I hoped to start.”
Unfortunately, he added there were struggles along the way.
“I let old age catch up with me,” he said with a laugh. “I played well for about an hour, then I played mediocre for about an hour and then I hung on.”
He said his overall game was hit-and-miss.
“I hit some real nice tee shots,” he said. “But then I hit one in the drink. I also made some nice putts but I also had some three putts.”
Now, he will set his sights on a three-peat next year.
“Everyone’s done such a great job of hosting these tournaments,” he said. “I hope a lot of guys from the South come up North next year. This is such a great tournament.”
Jeff Duncan, 77-73-73—223
James Hill, 75-74-76—225
David Foggia, 77-76-73—226
Brent Bingham had nine net birdies during his first round, a 63 and the only player in the division in the 60s, and coasted to a 10-shot victory.
It was his first state crown.
He said his play around the green made the difference.
“I drove the ball well,” he said. “But what I really did was I got it up and down from everywhere all weekend. My wedge play was good. I didn’t putt that well but I chipped it close and didn’t have to put the pressure on my putting.”
He added coming into the event, his confidence was a little shaky.
“I haven’t been playing well at all,” he said. “I was trying to work on my game but I finally just put the clubs away for four days. I thought about it and found a couple of things I was doing wrong and when I went out to hit balls the day before the tournament, I was hitting it great.”
He said the problem was in part caused by an injury.
“I messed my knee up and that had my balance off,” he said. “I wasn’t getting set up well and I was overcompensating. Now, I’ve got myself in a more athletic position to attack the ball and I feel good over the ball now.”
Brent Bingham, 63-67-71—201
Jimmy Bradley, 70-65-76—211
Ray Turpin, 71-71-70—212