Senior Amateur champion Sean Knapp (left) and Super-Senior Amateur Champion Casey Courneen (right) with WPGA President Rud VanHorn.

Knapp and Courneen capture Senior Amateur Championships • October 7, 2020

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

SEWICKLEY – The second day of the West Penn Senior Amateur was not for the faint of heart. After a first day on a Sewickley Heights Golf Club course that was hard and fast and difficult, a healthy dose of gusty winds was added to the mix for the second round.

And the results were predictable.

Eight players posted scores in the 90s, 16 players posted 80s and only five players were in the 70s.

“No doubt, this was a golf course was really difficult, regardless of what level the players are,” said Sean Knapp, the only man in the field who found a way to get his ball around SHGC in the least number of strokes.

For two days, Knapp totaled 141 strokes, with rounds of 71 and 70. His three-under total was nine shots better than his long-time friend and competitor, David Brown. He shot rounds of 77 and 73.

Considering the weather conditions Wednesday, Brown said a mouthful after riding in the same cart during the round.

“Sean played about as well as I’ve ever seen him play,” he said.

Brown got off to a quick start, making a birdie on the second and came very close to making ace on the third. That was notable because the third is a short 338-yard par four. His tee shot came within a few inches of finding the hole for an eagle.

“That round was fun,” Brown said. “I had just one double bogey and some really good shots. It was really one of the most enjoyable rounds I’ve had.”

Brown shot a respectable front nine of 35, but Knapp was relentless, posting a 33.

For Knapp, it was his third straight win in the championship since he became eligible (55).

“I thought I hit it great,” he said. “The only green I missed with 16 and it was just short. I putted it from the front fringe. Any time you win a bit tournament, it’s always memorable.”

Knapp also had just one double bogey, that coming on the par 3 13th hole. His tee shot got past the hole and rolled toward the back edge. He had the long putt figured out, playing it to above the hole on the right and expected it to ease toward the hole.

It didn’t ease, however, and he was left with about a two-footer down the slope. He hit that one a bit too hard and it lipped out. So did the one coming back up the hill and settled for a 5.

The win was something of a validation for some tinkering he’s been doing on his swing recently. He wasn’t making the same kind of contact he had been that he had been back in 2018 and was feeling a bit lost.

“I didn’t really know what to do,” Knapp said, admitting he went back over the copious notes he taken over the years. “I was asking myself why I was doing this. I was making some progress, but the results were the same.”

The results changed on Wednesday as he added one more victory to his historic total as the winningest player in the history of the West Penn Golf Association.

In the Super-Senior portion of the championship, Sewickley member Casey Courneen put rounds of 74 and 72 for a two-over par total of 146. Even with his local knowledge, he could only squeeze six birdies from his home course over 36 holes.

His two-over score was good enough for a seven-shot win over Bob Paris of Lawrence Park Golf Club and Paul Schlachter, another Sewickley member.

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.