Mapping-by-sequencing has emerged as a powerful technique for genetic mapping in several plant and animal species. As this resequencing-based method requires a reference genome, its application to complex plant genomes with incomplete and fragmented sequence resources remains challenging. We perform exome sequencing of phenotypic bulks of a mapping population of barley segregating for a mutant phenotype that increases the rate of leaf initiation. Read depth analysis identifies a candidate gene, which is confirmed by the analysis of independent mutant alleles. Our method illustrates how the genomic resources of barley together with exome resequencing can underpin mapping-by-sequencing.