Notebook: Anything But Dull; Exber Beats the Odds
October 4, 2015 | Vero Beach, Fla.
By David Shefter, USGA
Growing up, Marc Dull didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Living across the street in Lakeland, Fla., was his great-grandfather, Dexter Daniels, a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion.
While Dull didn’t get his start in the game from Daniels, he certainly had the chance to pick his great-grandfather’s brain and read clippings of his exploits.
“I got to know him well,” said Dull, 29, who opened play on Saturday in the 35th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at John’s Island Club with a 3-under-par 69 on the West Course. “I don’t know how much influence he had on me actually picking up the clubs. My dad did that. He just gave me a lot of information.”
Daniels, who didn’t become competitive in the game until his 50s, claimed the 1961 and 1966 Senior Amateur titles, winning the first at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., the same venue where Dull played his only previous USGA championship, the 2009 U.S. Amateur.
“He dropped out of school when he was in the sixth grade and he worked all of his life,” said Dull of Daniels, who died at the age of 99. “I remember reading an article about him playing Andy Bean in the [Florida] State Amateur when it was match play. He said, that guy is going to be something someday, and sure enough he won  PGA [Tour] events.”
Dull, a Florida Southern graduate, briefly tried professional golf after college, then gravitated to caddieing. He is a full-time caddie at the Streamsong (Fla.) Resort, where he said he does 30 loops a month. The resort will host next year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, and if he doesn’t qualify for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in three weeks, Dull plans to caddie for four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, who is partnering again with Dawn Woodard.
Working at Streamsong prepared Dull for this week’s event, which is being contested on similar turf.
“Streamsong has some blind tee shots, no trees and more sand,” said Dull. “The dunes come more into play [there]. We read these [types of] greens all day, every day. A friend of mine introduced me to something called AimPoint, so I used that a lot out here just as a guide to give me something to look at. And that helped tremendously.”
Beating The Odds
Even longtime Las Vegas resident Brady Exber couldn’t put a number on it. What are the odds of someone playing in two consecutive USGA events as an alternate?
Exber, 59, somehow found his way into the U.S. Senior Amateur last week and this week’s U.S. Mid-Amateur as a late substitute.
“I’m guessing it’s never happened before,” said Exber, who got the call Thursday from the USGA when U.S. Senior Amateur champion Chip Lutz declined the Mid-Amateur exemption he had earned for his victory. “Thank you, Chip. I owe you one.”
Exber figured his chances of getting into the Senior Amateur last week at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., were good, because at his qualifier in Nevada there were 29 players for one spot. He got in, reached match play and lost in the Round of 64 to Bill Leonard.
Exber’s Mid-Amateur qualifier in Sparks, Nev., was 12-for-1, and he didn’t expect his site to be high on the allotment list.
But as he sat on the veranda at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.) waiting for the rain to stop in preparation for this week’s Senior Azalea, where he was the defending champion, Exber’s cellphone rang. Exber accepted the USGA’s offer and found a flight to Florida, arriving in time to play 29 holes on Friday – 11 on the North Course and 18 on the West.
He went out on Saturday and carded a 2-over 74, which included bogeys on two of his final three holes.
Exber was exhausted and a little disappointed with the finish, but considering the circumstances, it was an impressive score.
Not as impressive, however, as the odds he beat to get into the back-to-back championships.David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.