Brady Exber (Championship), Todd Roberts (Senior) and John Turk (Silver) won gross titles at the 2020 Southern Nevada Amateur Championship played June 27-28, 2020, at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Snow Mountain course. Jay Ship (Net), Jack Kalmanson (Senior) and Loren Little (Silver) were net champs. It was the SNGA’s second major of the year. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Brady Exber won for the second straight event putting together a feast or famine weekend. On Saturday, he had a four-birdie, no-bogey round of 68 while on Sunday he had a no-birdie, three-bogey round. Exber is a 9-time SNGA player of the year.
“(Saturday) I played real well,” he said. “I didn’t have any bogeys and that’s always good. Today the wind was really blowing.”
He went into the second round knowing the wind would be a factor.
“I just tried to manage my high side,” he said. “I didn’t want to make any big numbers. My goal was to get the ball on or near the green and just get it up and down.”
He said the round didn’t start off the way he envisioned it.
“I threw away a couple of shots today,” he said. “My first hole (the 10th) I three-putted from 10 feet. I’d say that was definitely a throwaway. I made 11 pars in a row and then bogeyed my 13th and 18th holes.”
Despite no birdies, he was confident he was in the hunt.
“The guys I was playing with were struggling,” he said. “I felt if they were struggling, one of the guys in another group would have to have a really good score to catch me.”
And the chance to win another SNGA major kept him focused all weekend.
“I’m very satisfied with winning this golf tournament,” he said. “This is a big one for us. I wasn’t sure I would win another one of these. There are so many good players in the field. I played well the first day and that set it up for me.”
Brady Exber, 68-75—143
Cameron Barzekoff, 73-73—146
Daren Johnson, 69-79—148
Jay Ship entered the winner’s circle in SNGA play for the first time, winning by three in the Net Division. Ship trailed by a stroke entering the second day but a one-over 73 in the windy conditions vaulted him to the title.
Ship said his play from tee to green was the key.
“For me it was probably the best two consecutive days that I have ever had striking the ball,” he said. “It’s going to sound crazy but my iron play was just so good.”
He added his putting kept it from being one of his best weekends ever.
“I three-putted the last four holes on Saturday,” he said. “Then I missed at least four putts inside of four feet (Sunday). That just shows you how well I was striking the ball.”
He said he tried to stay aggressive on Sunday until the 16th hole.
“I played offense until the 16th,” he said. “That was the first time I looked at the leaderboard. I was about 100 yards out and played pretty conservatively and thought that if I made a par I’d have a four-shot lead. I went to nestle a 30-foot putt up close and it rolled in the hole. At that point I thought if I stayed upright I was going to win.”
Jay Ship, 75-73—148
Jeffrey Gilliame , 79-72—151
George Wolf, 78-76—154
For Todd Roberts, it was a weekend of survival. Roberts won an SNGA event for the second time in 2020 but it was a battle for two straight days. Roberts won in a scorecard playoff. Roberts is the reigning two-time SNGA senior player of the year.
And best of all, at least in Roberts’ mind, he won his first SNGA major.
“It’s really gratifying to finally win a major,” he said. “That was a goal I set this year. I haven’t played that well in them…seconds and thirds…but I needed to play well and win one. It was nice to be able to accomplish that.”
He did have help.
“I went out and bought two new drivers,” he said. “And I went and saw Butch (Harmon) and that helped a lot. He changed my setup a little.”
He called Harmon after the round with the good news.
“Dustin Johnson also won so Butch was pretty happy. Hopefully he was happier with my victory,” Roberts said with a laugh.
Now he’s got his sights set on more wins.
“I’ve had trouble finishing the last few holes in a couple of tournaments,” he said. “I needed to get over that hump and I did.”
Todd Roberts, 73-76—149
John Bobroski, 73-76—149
Robert Futrell, 71-79—150
Jack Kalmanson also became a first-time SNGA winner as he had a roller coaster weekend of scoring.
For the two days, Kalmanson wound up with just 12 pars out of the 36 holes. There were net eagles and net birdies as well as bogeys and the dreaded ‘others.’ But he survived the ride for the title.
“It makes me feel real good to win,” he said. “I was two strokes clear going in (to the second day) and thought if I kept my head down I was going to be all right.”
There were stumbles along the way, but there were also bouncebacks.
“I did have a triple bogey but then I came right back with a birdie so that really helped my focus,” he said.
He said the opening nine holes of the tournament got him started on the right track.
“I had 12 putts in the first nine holes,” he said. “I had six one-putts and three two-putts so that really helped save my score.”
Now, he’s looking for more.
“I’m excited with this win” he said. “It wasn’t an accident. I’ve been working hard on my game and practicing quite a bit. I made a couple of corrections in my alignment and it’s made a big difference.”
Jack Kalmanson, 69-77—146
Freddie Sarno, 79-75—154
Brian Freymueller, 76-79—155
John Turk, coming off injuries, won an SNGA title for the second time in 2020, posting two rounds under par to breeze to a seven-shot victory. He is also a former SNGA senior player of the year.
“I stepped in a gopher hole and fell down a hill,” he said of his setback. “I dislocated a shoulder and cracked three ribs. I had to take a few weeks off.”
His comeback victory makes him 2-for-2 in 2020.
“I’m a happy camper,” he said. “I’ve played twice now and won twice. Maybe I’ll play a few more and see what happens. But playing with these guys really keeps you focused. It’s never easy.”
Despite the wind on Sunday, Turk had a string of four straight birdies that separated him from the field.
“The four birdies in a row made me think I was playing pretty well,” he said with a laugh. “I thought 72 would be a good score. I just wanted to shoot under par.”
He said the time off and having a chance to work on his swing have him confident.
“I redid my swing and came out pretty solid this week,” he said. “I’m hitting the ball real well.”
John Turk, 70-71—141
Frank Acker, 72-76—148
Patrick Woerner, 75-77—152
Loren Little posted his first SNGA major victory, holding on for the Silver Net title.
“I had a lot of luck the last two days,” Little said. “I had probably more birdies the last two days, four, than I usually get in a year. They all kind of run together but those were very memorable.”
He said he’ll be the first to tell everyone the wind was tough.
“I must admit on the 15th tee the wind blew me over,” he said. “It took two of the guys to pick me up again. I had no idea where my drive went but they were able to find it for me. That’s how strong the wind was.”
Loren Little, 71-75—146
Walter Sabati, 71-78—149
Jim O’Hare, 76-80—156