The one down side to qualifying for the U.S. Open as an amateur is that it really starts to mess with your Summer golf schedule. For Beau Hossler, it meant having to withdraw from this year’s California Amateur Championship, an event he badly wanted to win after falling in last year’s final on the 35th hole of the match.
For Jake Knapp, it meant traveling straight from Chambers Bay to Daly City, Calif. just in time for the 104th playing of the California Amateur, and arriving on property Monday morning for an 8:30 a.m. tee time without having seen the course in four years.
But despite tired legs from the 10+ mile walks around Chambers Bay just days prior, Knapp didn’t seem to show any wear or tear, firing a round of 4-under-par 68 in Monday’s first round of play.
“I got off to a really slow start, I hadn’t seen the course in four years, so the first couple of holes I was kind of testing it out,” said Knapp. “But I think I played pretty well. I got an eagle to fall on my back nine and made a couple important birdies.”
Knapp’s “really slow start” consisted of a bogey-birdie-bogey start on Lake Merced GC’s back nine, however the UCLA golfer would play his final 15 holes at 5-under-par, including an impressive eagle on the par 5 sixth hole and a great birdie save out of the bunker on No. 18 (his 9th hole of the day).
“This tournament is a grind, it’s a long week, so you just don’t want to wear yourself out in stroke play,” said Knapp. “Match play takes a lot out of you, so while you’re obviously looking to win stroke play, you don’t want to kill yourself.”
Knapp leads a group of five golfers who shot 68 on Monday, all of whom came from the morning wave. With temperatures remaining cold all day, and no more than a few minutes of sunshine, the wind picked up significantly later in the day, pushing the afternoon wave a little further down the leaderboard. Participants will flop tee times Tuesday.
Joining Knapp at the top of the leaderboard is Saint Mary’s golfer Jonathan De los Reyes, Cal golfer KK Limbhasut, UCLA golfer Lorens Chan and former Penn golfer Max Marsico.
The field includes four former winners of the event: Don Dubois (2005), Steve Woods (1994), Tim Hogarth (1999) and Ed Cuff (1998).
Both Monday and Tuesday’s action consists of stroke play qualifying, with the low 32 players then advancing to match play. The Championship’s 36-hole final match will be played Saturday, June 27. Tee times begin Tuesday at 7 a.m.
In the North/South Match, the SCGA leads the NCGA 357-368, led by Knapp. Justin Suh had the low score for the NCGA at 1-under-par 71.
Lake Merced GC annually hosts the LPGA Tour Swinging Skirts Classic and has hosted the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championship and 2012 U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship.