Knapp stands out for Estancia

Jake Knapp hasn't made it to all of the matches for the Estancia High boys' golf team this season because another event kept him away.

The ones he has played in his senior year with the Eagles, he's made the most of them. Thirteen times he's earned the medalist honor.

Only once has he not finished on top. Coach Art Perry called it Knapp's lone bad round, an eight-over-par 80 two weeks ago at the Shark Invitational at the Golf Club at Glen Ivy.

"We had to wake him up early, because he had shot a six-under-par 30 the day before at Mesa Verde Country Club, where we played Long Beach Wilson," Perry said of Knapp. "That's the best score I've ever seen there for nine holes."

The round is also the best nine-hole round in Orange County this season.

Perry witnessed Knapp return to that type of form last week.

In his second tournament with the Eagles, Knapp finished first as did his team. He shot three-under-par 69 at the Long Beach Millikan Tournament at El Dorado Park Golf Course. Estancia won the nine-team event by five shots.

The following day in an Orange Coast League match against Calvary Chapel, Knapp fired a four-under-par 32 at Mesa Verde Country Club and the Eagles stayed perfect in league. Not as impressive as his 30 on the same course on March 22, when he recorded two eagles and two birdies, but still good enough to medal again.

In the next two Estancia matches, Knapp couldn't medal. He wasn't with the Eagles (10-4, 5-0 in league).

Knapp was on another course when the Eagles faced rival Costa Mesa. While Estancia went on to win by 17 shots, Knapp was preparing for a qualifier at Yucaipa Valley Golf Club for the Nationwide Tour's Soboba Golf Classic.

Five days later, Knapp teed off. Windy conditions and bumpy greens took him off his game. By the time it was over, his even-par 72 score was six shots back of the qualifying mark.

Knapp sent Jake Stone a text to find out how Estancia fared against Newport Harbor. One shot was the difference and the Eagles lost the nonleague match.

Not being around for every Estancia event, Knapp said, makes him feel bad.

He likes his teammates. When he's not playing with them, the Eagles aren't as good. The two matches he's missed, Estancia is 1-1.

Perry understands why Knapp can't always be with Estancia. He has more prestigious tournaments to compete in, to get better, to improve his No. 37 national ranking, and to win his first American Junior Golf Assn. tournament.

Knapp is at the Heather Farr Classic this weekend in Mesa, Ariz. He has been to the tournament, which is one of the premier AJGA tournaments, before at Longbow Golf Club, finishing in a three-way tie for fifth place last year.

First is where Knapp wants to be at when the three-day tournament ends on Sunday. Getting that first AJGA win is important to Knapp before he plays at UCLA next season.

"You look at the guys on the PGA Tour, a lot of the golfers have won AJGA events before turning pro," Knapp said. "I want to be a pro someday."

Perry said he can see Knapp becoming the first golfer from Estancia he's coached in 25 years to play on the PGA Tour.

Perry has seen other talented golfers come through the program, but he said they don't have Knapp's overall game.

"Nothing bothers him. You wouldn't tell how he's playing because of his great demeanor. He's a great sportsman," said Perry, who's looking forward to seeing how Knapp performs after high school and college. "I always said whoever is the first guy to turn pro, he's going to have to buy a new van for the golf team at Estancia. We have an old van, which is great for seven guys. But a van with an air conditioner, a nice radio, and a little cooler for waters would be great."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza


Jake Knapp

Born: May 31, 1994

Hometown: Costa Mesa

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 167 pounds

Sport: Boys' golf

Coach: Art Perry

Favorite food: Chicken burrito

Favorite movie: "Wayne's World"

Favorite athletic moment: "Playing with Patrick Cantlay in the same group at the CIF Southern Section Individual championship two years ago. Cantlay won it and I placed [third]."

Week in review: Knapp earned the medalist honor after shooting three-under-par 69 at the Long Beach Millikan Tournament at El Dorado Park Golf Course. Estancia won the nine-team event by five shots. Knapp also medaled in the Eagles' Orange Coast League victory against Calvary Chapel, finishing with a four-under-par 32 at Mesa Verde Country Club.

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