Elbow injury forces Knapp out of WPGA Amateur
When Sean Knapp woke up Monday morning, his left elbow didn’t feel right.
He took anti-inflammatory medication and used ice to try to ease the discomfort. When he arrived at Oakmont Country Club of the 119th Annual Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Amateur Champion, he tried to hit shots on the practice range.
There, he came to the realization defending his title was not going to happen. Knapp, 58, had to withdraw from the tournament he has won eight times.
“I could feel it developing at the U.S. Senior Open,” Knapp said. “I took off Saturday and played Sunday. It felt funny after I got done.”
Knapp played in the first two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday and Friday.
“I don’t think it’s serious,” Knapp said. “It hurts not to play in it and not defend your title. I don’t know how many years I have that I can play in, but, hopefully, I get a chance next year.”
With Knapp out of the race, the field remained strong with a lot of the top amateurs from the Pittsburgh area.
Oakmont was playing as difficult as ever, and pace of play was slower than normal.
A couple golfers had good rounds going before Oakmont’s tricky greens and high rough got to them.
Indiana’s Kyle Grube shot a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine but began the second nine was a triple-bogey 7 on No. 10 and a bogey on No. 11.
He rebounded to finish the first round tied for the lead with Hickory Heights Golf Cub’s Louis Olsakovsky at even-par, 71.
Murrysville’s Palmer Jackson is in third place, a shot back, at 72. Jackson was 2-under through 12 holes but bogeyed Nos. 13, 16 and 17.
Tied for fourth were Greensburg native Mark Goetz, Fox Chapel’s Adam Hofmann, Oakmont’s Chuck Nettles, Wildwood’s Jeff Varga and Oakmont’s Nathan Sutherland.
Goetz, who will be a junior at West Virginia, shot a 2-over 73, He had four bogeys, including three in a row on Nos. 14-16, before finishing with two pars. He birdied Nos. 5 and 12.
“This course takes a lot out of you,” Goetz said. “I just hope to hang around and be in contention on the final round on Wednesday. You have to hit the ball in good spots and make a lot of 10-foot par putts to be successful.”
Goetz has played in the Amateur six-consecutive years.
Latrobe native Brady Pevarnik has some work to do in Round 2 on Tuesday if he hopes to make the cut of 32 and ties. Pevarnik shot an 8-over 79.
“It wasn’t a good day,” Pevarnik said. “The double-bogey on No. 17 didn’t help. I just played poorly. Maybe I’ll shoot a 66 on Tuesday.”
Greensburg’s Arnie Cutrell was at 2-under early in his round but shot 6-over 41 on the back and finished at 4-over 75.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .