Five area golfers head to National Amateur

Posted August 5, 2008 - Western Pennsylvania Golf Association - Contact

With Sectional Qualifying Rounds completed, five amateurs from Western Pennsylvania, all with previous USGA championship experience, will compete in the USGA Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, August 18-24. Four of them are currently the top four players on the WPGA Honor Roll: Nathan Smith, Sean Knapp, Mike VanSickle, and Robert Rohanna. These four, plus Keith Stauffer, Bradford, is one of the strongest groups of players the area has sent to the Amateur at one time.

The qualifiers:

Sean Knapp, Oakmont - qualified at Harrisburg, Knapp has qualified for numerous Amateurs, with his best showings a quarter-final n 1998 at Oak Hill, and the third round at Newport in 1995, where he lost to Tiger Woods. A qualifier for numerous Mid-Amateurs, he was medalist and quarter-finalist in 1989 and quarterfinalist in 1998.

Robert Rohanna, Waynesburg - the Penn State standout who advanced from the PSU Blue Course Sectional has qualified for the Amateur Public Links and Amateur the past two years. He was a quarter-finalist in the ’07 APL, and reached the second round this year. His college season was highlighted by two wins and a second place finish in the Regional at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh - the 2003 USGA Mid-Amateur champion qualified at Wildwood; also qualified for the Junior Amateur. Smith reached the second round in the 2005 Amateur at Merion and the round of sixteen in the 2006 and 2007 Mid-Amateurs. He was the only player in the 2006 Mid-Amateur at Forest Highlands GC, Flagstaff, AZ, who played in the 1996 Junior Amateur at the same course.

Keith Stauffer, Bradford - the second qualifier from Penn State Blue, Stauffer, 44, also qualified for the 1986 Amateur at Shoal Creek. A graduate of IUP, he roomed with Knapp. His brothers Kirk and Kent and both golf professionals with strong playing records in their respective Sections.

Mike VanSickle, Wexford - a Sectional Qualifier at Wildwood, this is his first appearance in the Amateur. He has also qualified for the Junior Amateur. His outstanding summer includes the 2008 Pennsylvania Amateur title, runner-up in the Southern Amateur, and top ten finishes in the Northeastern Amateur and Porter Cup.