Knapp seeks more

It's been a big week at the Knapp house.

Jake Knapp won the Toyota Tour Cup junior tournament on Tuesday at Santa Ana Country Club. Then older brother Ryan Knapp was a top qualifier for the Long Beach Open Wednesday.

Ryan hopes to continue the success when he plays in the U.S. Open Amateur Sectional qualifier Monday at Big Canyon Country Club. The qualifier features several local golfers in the 36-hole event on the par-72 course.

Jake, who will be a senior at Estancia, won't be playing in this one. He's competing in the qualifier at Mission Viejo Country Club Aug. 1. But Jake and Ryan will keep in touch.

"Jake and I talk about golf every day," said Ryan, who will be a redshirt sophomore for UC Irvine this year. "It's fun to see him play so well. We'll challenge each other to do better. It's good competition in the house."

The competition should continue on the college level. Jake is bound for UCLA after graduating in 2012. Ryan will be waiting with a year of NCAA Division I golf under his belt and two more to go.

Ryan, who is 20, stood out at Estancia, helping the Eagles win four straight league titles. He then played a year at Orange Coast College. He was part of a stellar team that finished fifth in the state after taking second in the region and winning the Orange Empire Conference.

He then spent the past year as a redshirt at UCI.

"It was different," Ryan said of his redshirt year. "But it was good to get my feet wet. To play the courses three or four times a week, it really helped me improve my game. My game improved a lot."

Ryan saw that improvement at the Long Beach Open qualifier Wednesday at Recreation Park Golf Course. Ryan finished his bogey-free round with six birdies on his way to a six-under-par 66, tying with two others.

"It's pretty high up there," Ryan said of where he ranked the accomplishment. "It'll be the first pro event that I play. I'm excited to have a new challenge."

The $160,000 Long Beach Open, which has had champions such as Paul Goydos, begins Thursday and ends July 31.

Before then, Ryan will focus his attention on Monday's qualifier. The final number of qualifying spots will be announced before play on Monday.

The qualifiers will advance to the 111th U.S. Amateur will be Aug. 22-28 at Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wisconsin.

Monday's qualifier also includes USC's Stewart Hagestad, a Newport Beach resident who is a member at Big Canyon Country Club. Mike Moorhead, a Corona del Mar High standout who will be a senior, is also a Big Canyon member competing on Monday. Mike Carpenter, Big Canyon's men's club champ, and club member Jordan Nasser, who played at USC, are also in the event.

"This is definitely the biggest qualifier of the year for me," Ryan said. "It's the one you circle on your calendar. I kind of gear up for this one more so than any other tournament I play in all year."

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