Ryan Knapp wins SCGA Am qualifier at Oak Creek

Somehow in between final exams and study sessions, Ryan Knapp found time to win a golf tournament Tuesday at Oak Creek Golf Course in Irvine.

Knapp, a UC Irvine redshirt sophomore who stood out at Estancia High and Orange Coast College, won the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur qualifier with a six-under-par 65. He had been up till 4 a.m. on Tuesday studying for finals. He was in a study session shortly after winning the qualifier, and then took a final exam in the evening.

"I got up this morning and I guess I had a good round in me today," said Knapp, who noted Oak Creek is one of the Anteaters' home courses.

Knapp was one of seven to qualify for the 113th SCGA Amateur Championship at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach July 20 through 22. Will Tipton of Corona del Mar also qualified, as he was tied for fifth at one-under. And, Bhuvan Potluri, a freshman teammate of Knapp's at UCI, grabbed the final qualifying spot after finishing even and winning in a playoff.

Knapp's younger brother, Jake, is in the SCGA Amateur Championship from an invitation he received. Ryan Knapp said he is excited to play with his younger brother and make his debut in the SCGA Am.

"Big Canyon is one of my favorite courses," Ryan Knapp said. "I'm excited to play in a big tournament so close to home."

Ryan Knapp's round featured an eagle on the 525-yard, par-five No. 1. He had just one bogey and finished with five birdies. He collected three birdies on the front, on holes 3 (430 yards), 4 (384 yards) and 6 (434 yards). He went on to birdie the 384-yard, par-four No. 10 and closed it out with a birdie on the 456-yard, par-four No. 18.

Potluri qualified by winning a playoff against Tyler Schmuckle of Encinitas. Potluri had par on No. 18 and Schmuckle went bogey in the playoff. Potluri will be making his debut in the event next month.

The SCGA Amateur Championship begins with 36 holes on July 20, as 84 players will play two rounds. Following the second round, the field will be cut to the low 42 scores (plus ties).

Saturday's round will be 18 holes, as will the final round on Sunday.

— Steve Virgen

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