Brady Exber (Championship), Todd Roberts (Senior) and Steven Fink (Silver) came away with gross titles at the SNGA Tour’s stop at Arroyo Golf Club on Aug. 16, 2019. The three are longtime SNGA players with a deep history in the organization. Craig Goleno (Net), David Golder (Senior) and Walter Sabati (Silver) were the net division champions. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Brady Exber is back in the SNGA winner’s circle for the first time in 16 months, posting a seven-shot victory.
Exber is a nine-time SNGA Player of the Year. He said he’s been out of action dealing with issues off the golf course.
“I’ve got the Senior Am next week in North Carolina and needed to get something under my belt,” he said returning to tournament play.
And what did he find out about his game?
“It’s rusty,” he said with a laugh. “But, my game is in there…somewhere. My game’s not as sharp as it has been but then again I’m also not as young either.”
He was two-over-par through eight holes before heating up and playing his last 10 holes in five-under.
“I holed some putts on the back nine,” he said. “I think I shot 37-32. I found something with the putter on the back nine.”
But he added his game is closer than he thought.
“I didn’t hit any bad, bad golf shots,” he said. “And that’s a good thing. My key to playing tournaments is how good you hit your bad shots. If my misses are in play, I’ll be OK and mine were in play today.”
He’s hoping his back-nine play carries over to next week.
“I just want to get to match play,” he said. “If I can get there, who knows? It’s tough just to get to match play. I’d love to get one of the low 64 spots and then see what I can do.”
Brady Exber, 69
Eric Bauman, 76
Carl Digennaro, 76
Craig Goleno’s two net eagles, along with five net birdies, helped him breeze to his second SNGA Tour net title in 2019.
Goleno won by four shots and said there’s no secret to his victory.
“I play my fair share at this course so I know where to hit it and where to miss it,” he said. “Knowing the layout really helps.”
He added that his drives weren’t on the money, but he made up for it. “I chipped it well and read the greens pretty good and putted well,” he said.
He started off the round with a bang and kept going–for awhile.
“I chipped in for a birdie (net eagle) early and that was a great start,” he said. “On the 7th hole, a par-3, it was playing just 160 yards and I hit it to about three feet and made the putt for birdie (net eagle).”
But it wasn’t all fun and games. “From there I went through a stretch where I would make a birdie or par or else a double bogey. I couldn’t make a bogey.”
By the time he got to 17, he knew his goal. “I just had to hit the fairway on 17 and 18 and I knew I’d have a chance at this thing,” he said.
Craig Goleno, 70
Allen Grant, 74
Keith Walker, 74
Todd Roberts, the reigning SNGA senior player of the year, made it two straight victories, cruising to a five-shot victory in the Senior Division.
Roberts had four birdies and two bogeys and admits it was a smoother ride than his usual roller-coaster rounds.
“This was good…this was much better,” Roberts said. “I slayed the demons when I made a birdie on 18. My string of 73s are over (in competition). Six in a row of them was more than enough.”
His win came despite feeling uneasy with the course. “This course makes me uncomfortable,” he said. “It just doesn’t suit my eye. But I kept the ball in play. And I made a bunch of nine-footers which you’re supposed to make. I haven’t been making enough of those.”
Now he hopes his game is going in the right direction to even lower scores…and more wins. “I’m on the right track,” he said. “I need to start scoring better to match up to how good I’m hitting it and how I’m putting.”
And it’s just a few little things. “Today I had a couple of mistakes that were dumb,” he said. “If I can get rid of those I would be able to maximize my scores.”
Todd Roberts, 70
Frank Acker, 75
Jack Williams, 77
No one was more shocked than David Golder that he won the Senior Net title.
“I was surprised because I putted terrible,” he said. “I hit good drives and kept the ball in play but I just couldn’t putt. I guess all of the other shots were good enough.”
He said he knows the problem with his putting–himself. “I own one of every putter ever made,” he said with a laugh. “I’m starting to think it’s me and not the putter.”
And he thought that putting might cost him at Arroyo. “I had no clue where I stood (in the event),” he said. “I didn’t play well on the front but played much better on the back. But I three-putted 17 and thought that might cost me.”
Now that he’s won, his goal is simple. “I’m going to try my hardest to win more,” he said.
David Golder, 71
James Corey, 72
David Koch, 79
For Steven Fink, a former SNGA president, the explanation was simple.
“I haven’t played in that many SNGA events and when I did, I haven’t played well,” he said. “Today I played very well.”
He said his short game and the par 5s made the difference. “I hit my short irons very well and birdied three of the par 5s,” he said. “I had a lot of shorter putts because of my short irons and I managed to make a few of them.”
His 3-under-par score still had him deflecting his solid round. “It’s a shorter course playing from the silver tees,” he said. “That let me hit more 3-woods off the tee. But, it’s always gratifying to shoot under par no matter what course you’re playing.”
Steven Fink, 69
Frank Abbott, 71
Darwin Rogers, 75
Walter Sabati won an SNGA Tour event for the first time in 2019 after posting three wins in 2018.
He said his game is finally back on track after a year of battling injuries.
“I had a back injury that lasted seven months,” he said. “Then there was an elbow and then a shoulder. Now I think I’m at about 90 percent and feeling much better.”
It showed on the course.
“I’m not swinging as hard and today I didn’t miss too many fairways,” he said. “When I was coming back, I’d play one good nine and then fall apart. But friends were very encouraging. I had to grind it out, but now it’s coming back around.”
Walter Sabati, 65
Michael Manthey, 67
Jack Schwartz, 68