Costa Mesa's Jake Knapp can add a championship to his resume in a summer where catching a breath between tournaments seems like a rich reward. Knapp crowned his summer thus far with a tie for the top spot in the Toyota Tour Cup's boys' division at Santa Ana Country Club Tuesday.
Knapp, who will be a senior at Estancia High this fall, and Jonathan Sanders of Chatsworth each shot 10-under-par for 54 holes. Knapp won with a birdie on the second playoff hole, capping rounds of 67-70-69. He shot 67 and 70 on Monday.
"I've been playing a lot and haven't been playing terrible," Knapp said by phone after his round Monday. "There's always a good tournament every week. But I really don't want to get burned out."
Knapp made room for fun by going to the Orange County Fair and said he might return, just so it's not all golf all the time.
Knapp was one of five players from a field of 51 at Santa Ana to shoot even or better. Incoming Corona del Mar senior Mike Moorhead tied for 13th (74-76-72 – 222) and Newport Harbor's Carter Norris tied for 18th (78-70-77 – 225).
Earlier this month Knapp competed at the Callaway Junior World Championships, which, as it sounds, draws players from around the globe. Knapp, who has committed to UCLA, struggled to an 80 the first day, but steadily improved on Torrey Pines' South Course with rounds of 74-71-70 to finish tied for 21st at seven-over.
"I didn't have much confidence," Knapp said after the first day. "I called up my coach, John Ortega and we had a short lesson. We worked on one little thing that I could play during the second round."
The "one little thing" Knapp mentioned was straightening his ball flight.
"It helps knowing what the ball is going to do," Knapp said. "You can't be thinking, 'Oh I'm going to hit it here'"
For Knapp, he hits draws more often than fades. At Torrey, accuracy was at a premium.
"The low numbers were definitely out there," he said. "It sounds cliché, but you have to hit fairways and greens. The rough is very long, so it's tough to get up and down. It's definitely tough and the course gets windy in the afternoon."
Knapp has time to rest before teeing off in the 39th Junior America's Cup Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen, Colo., July 27-29. Knapp and three teammates will compete against 16, four-player groups from the western U.S., western Canada and Mexico.
"I wasn't planning on it, but they needed another guy for the team," Knapp said.
Two tournaments on Knapp's list of "biggie" events this summer follow the Junior America's Cup.
"The big one, in the top two or three, is qualifying for the U.S. Amateur and number one is the Junior Players (Championship)," Knapp said.
The U.S. Amateur will be August 22-28 at Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wisconsin. Knapp needs to qualify and he said that round will be at Mission Viejo Country Club Aug. 1.
On the heels of the U.S. Amateur is the Junior Players Championship.
Knapp and other top junior golfers will play the same holes the pros do every year at the venerable TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in addition to a round on Pete Dye's Valley Course in the early September invitational.
Newport Beach resident Amy Matsuoka tied for 12th in the Toyota Tour Cup's girls' division at Santa Ana with rounds of 75-83-76.
The 22nd Costa Mesa junior championship will be held July 27-28 on Costa Mesa Country Club's Mesa Linda Course.
Tee times begin at 7 a.m. both days with play in girls' age divisions 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18 and boys' 9-11, 12-13, 14-15, and 16-18.