Knapp looks to defend WPGA Amateur title
So how did Oakmont native Sean Knapp spend his Sunday as he prepared to defend his title at the West Open Amateur? By playing against some talented friends at Hannastown Golf Club in Greensburg.
The hotly contested match included Latrobe’s Brady Pevarnik, Pittsburgh’s Rick Stimmel, Ligonier’s David Brown, Greensburg’s Kevin Fajt, Hempfield’s Arnold Cutrell and Greensburg’s Mark Goetz — all of whom are playing in the Amateur.
The tournament begins Monday at Oakmont Country Club. Knapp, 58, has won eight WPGA Amateur titles, and he just returned from competing in the U.S. Senior Open, where missed the cut.
“I think I’m the oldest to win the Amateur,” he said. “There are a lot of talented young players, and they keep me young and that’s one of the reasons I joined Hannastown because the element of good play being around all the good young guys.
“There is no doubt that there is a revitalization effort when you play with great young players. It energizes me, and I love it.”
Knapp is part of a strong field that also includes Peters Township’s Connor Schmitt, Murrysville’s Palmer Jackson, Peters Township’s Jimmy Ellis, Latrobe’s Bo Ruffner and Mt. Lebanon’s Neal Shipley.
Knapp once was a caddie at Oakmont and has played the course numerous times. He knows the ins-and-outs about how to play Oakmont.
He said the key is patience.
“You have to drive the ball well and putt well to be successful at Oakmont,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be set up like a USGA event. You have to understand that if you’re in trouble, you have to minimize the damage.”
He said how far some of the young kids hit the ball takes problem areas of the course out of play.
“I’m just looking forward to competing,” Knapp said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The three-day, 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .