RIVERSIDE — The heat never subsided at the Victoria Country Club in Riverside on Monday.
It was difficult for Jake Knapp to also shake away the pain in his right shoulder.
The nagging ache challenged the Estancia High senior. He responded with some great shots but couldn't get several putts to drop. He didn't do enough to finish among the top 28 at the CIF Southern Section individual final.
Knapp's high school season surprisingly ended after he was eliminated among an 11-man playoff on the first playoff hole. He bogeyed the hole, No. 10, to officially miss the cut to advance to Brookside Golf Club.
He finished with a three-over-par 75 to move into the playoff. Sage Hill School senior Ahmed Eltamami saw his season end after he shot 80.
Johnny Ruiz of Camarillo won the CIF section title after carding a 66. It wouldn't have surprised hardly anyone if Knapp had won. He had been on a tear, winning the Southern Division regional title last week and shooting a 10-under 61 at Newport Beach Country Club to win theU.S. Openlocal qualifier on Wednesday. It was the lowest score in the nation at Open local qualifiers.
The amazing 61 was still the buzz at the Victoria course, as other golfers brought up the score to Knapp during his round. But Knapp couldn't find any of that magic in the CIF event.
He struggled with putts. On No. 7 he nearly had a hole-in-one. Then his four-foot birdie putt lipped out and he settled for par. Through 11 holes, Knapp was at one-over when he could have been at four-under, as he missed birdie putts from within 10 feet on Nos. 5, 7, 10 and 11.
"The score doesn't really indicate how well he played," Estancia Coach Art Perry said. "I think he was a little tentative. He had a sore shoulder. It's not his normal self. He didn't hit his stride like he normally he does."
Knapp said he has been dealing with a sore shoulder recently but it started acting up on Friday and even more on Sunday during practice. He said he saw a doctor for some work on the shoulder, but the pain was still there the next day.
He said he'll have his doctor take another look at it Tuesday.
"I'll probably get an MRI," said Knapp, bound for UCLA. "I don't know if I want to find out personally because that might mean I have to take time off. I'll hope for the best."
Knapp, who carried his bag on his left shoulder throughout the round, showed frustration at times. He didn't sink his first birdie until the par-five No. 14. But he came back with a double bogey on No. 15.
He missed yet another eight-foot birdie putt on the par-three No. 16 and he endured a brutal scenario on No. 17 that led to a bogey.
But Knapp closed with a birdie on the par-five No. 18.
"It's life lessons out here," said Jake's father, Bob Knapp. "You can't quit. It's a brutal game. Golf will beat you up. You've just got to take what you give and some days are good and some days not so much."
Jake Knapp said he was disappointed to miss the cut to advance, but he said he looks forward to competing in theU.S. Opensection qualifier June 4 at Lake Merced and the TPC at Harding Park. He plans to visit both courses this week with his dad to prepare for the qualifier and try to make it to the U.S. Open June 14 to 17 at Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco.
Both Knapp and Eltamami qualified to play in the California Amateur Championship June 25 to 30 at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara.
Eltamami has enjoyed a breakthrough season that has included his qualifying for the Cal Am. He said he was the medalist in 11 of 14 matches this season and six out of eight in the Academy League. He was also the Academy League champion.
He competed for the first time in the CIF Southern Division regional last week and made his debut in the individual final on Monday.
"I was feeling pretty confident coming in but it didn't show," said Eltamami, who admitted he was a bit nervous with all of the talent on the course. "There were so many good players out there."
Sage Hill Coach Nicole Middaugh also noticed Eltamami's nerves on the course.
"It just wasn't his day unfortunately," she said. "I think it ended up being his nerves. He just never got it going."