As he walked out of the clubhouse at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis last Thursday afternoon, a promotional poster for the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur caught Sean Knapp’s eye.
He noticed a picture of Dave Ryan, the defending champion, who lost his chance to defend when Knapp defeated him in the semifinals. Knapp took a couple more steps before he stopped.
“It was then that I realized next year, my picture was going to be on that poster,” Knapp, 55, said. “That’s when it started to be real.”
It actually became official a few hours earlier when Knapp defeated two-time champion Paul Simson of Raleigh, North Carolina, 2 & 1, to win the Senior Amateur.
Calling Knapp’s victory significant would be like referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s as a fairly successful football team. With his win, Western Pennsylvania players have won 12 of the 14 individual championships the USGA conducts. The only two that haven’t been won by someone from the area are the U.S. Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.
But for the man himself, the hard-earned victory was a combination of a significant personal accomplishment and what he hopes will be a springboard to even greater things on the national senior amateur stage. (more)