Knapp Wins Q-School West #2, Sadlowski Exempt Through Six

Jake Knapp exempt through 2019 with 2-stroke victory at Mackenzie Tour Q-School West #2

Phoenix, Arizona— For the second time in three years, Jake Knapp has claimed medalist honours at a Mackenzie Tour Q-School event, this time winning on the Gold Course at Wigwam Golf Resort, firing a final-round 72 to win by two strokes.

“It means a lot, I have a good place to play this summer and a set schedule getting full status into every event,” said Knapp. “Setting my schedule and knowing where I’ll be is really nice.”

Jake Knapp

Entering the final round with a four-stroke cushion, the UCLA Bruins alum quickly added to his lead, making an up-and-down from an awkward position in a greenside bunker on the first hole for birdie.

Adding another two circles on the front side, Knapp made the turn after 33-strokes for the third time this week. Despite a double-bogey on the closing stretch, even-par ended up being good enough on Friday.

“It was playing tough. On the front nine I scrambled a bit and had to make some good putts for par,” said the 24-year old. “I made bogey on 10 unfortunately but came back with birdie on 11. I had just a little hiccup on 15 and 16 but finished with good pars on 17 and 18.”

Two-years ago in San Jacinto, California, Knapp won his first Mackenzie Tour Q-School event in his maiden season as a professional, lapping the field with a commanding 7-stroke victory.

While his previous two fully-exempt seasons on the Mackenzie Tour have been inconsistent, Knapp proved he has the ability to perform at the highest level with a T4 finish in his first-ever Mackenzie Tour event in Vancouver in 2017 and a T9 finish at the GolfBC Championship two weeks later.

After the promising start, the Costa Mesa, California native’s season was cut short due to a back injury.

“I decided to take the rest of the year off and take care of (my back) and focus on the next season,” said Knapp, who played seven events in 2017. “I figured I was in a good spot on the Order of Merit where I would keep my status if I didn’t play, so rather than postponing having to maybe miss another season I decided to pack it in and try to come back in 2018, healthy.”

This time around, Knapp intends to take no prisoners.

“Overall, my game has gotten better,” said Knapp. “It’s cleaner and I’m driving it straighter. My putting has improved a lot, which I needed to get better at. The short game is good, but overall, I’m just improving.

“I love the first three weeks,” continued Knapp. “The West-Coast, they’re all good courses. And (TPC Toronto at) Osprey Valley and a few others that are links style and allow you to hit some more drivers, I’m looking forward to going back there.”

If Knapp listing off a third of the schedule as his favourite is any indication, the two-time collegiate champion is itching for another chance to dominate the Great White (hopefully green this Summer) North.

Key Information

•When Will Zalatoris was 12-years old, he qualified for the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur, playing his first round of stroke play alongside Patrick Cantlay. Later that week, Jordan Spieth hoisted the trophy. Four-years later, it was Zalatoris hoisting the trophy. Due to his junior success, Zalatoris was awarded the Arnold Palmer Scholarship, given to one player entering his freshman season at Wake Forest each year. Just a few of the past recipients of the scholarship include: Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, and multiple-Major Champion Curtis Strange. It was a good decision; in Zalatoris’ college career he amassed 24 top-10s, including 15 top-5s and four victories. The Plano, Texas native’s 70.44 career scoring average is the school record, an accolade previously held by Haas. Placing second this week, Zalatoris will enter his first season with status on a professional tour.

Jamie Sadlowski

•If any doubters remained, Jamie Sadlowski may have stopped them in their tracks this week in the desert. Three rounds in the 60s and a final-round 72 equate to a third-place finish for the 2008 and 2009 World Long-Drive Champion. Entering his second season with guaranteed Mackenzie Tour starts and third-consecutive year as a member, the Canadian looks to bring his Q-School momentum with him to Vancouver this May.

•David Sanchez, a club professional who played the 2007 season on the Web.com Tour, showed his grit this week at Q-School. Firing three rounds in the 60s this week, the 41-year old earned six guaranteed Mackenzie Tour starts with a T4 finish.

•Hayden Buckley, the 2017-18 University of Missouri Male Athlete of the Year due to a four-win senior season, earned six guaranteed starts after grinding through windy conditions on Friday to fire a closing 74 to place T4.

•Eric McCardle was the last player in the field this week. An on-site alternate, the 105th place finisher on the 2017 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Order of Merit got the call on Wednesday that he was in. McCardle closed with final rounds of 69-68 to finish inside the number by a single stroke.

•After finishing in 19th spot on the 2017 Web.com Tour Order of Merit, Andrew Yun made only three cuts in 22 starts on the PGA TOUR, losing his card. Battling back from a second-round 77, Yun finished 69-68 over the past two days to place T14 and won a 4-for-1 playoff to earn guaranteed Mackenzie Tour starts.

•Canadian David Rose earned six guaranteed starts with a T9 finish, while James Seymour and amateur Chris Crisologo earned conditional status with T18 and T24 finishes respectively.

Quotable

“It’s exciting. I turned pro last January and played off Sponsor’s Exemptions and was trying to Monday (qualify) into events. I didn’t get in a bunch and didn’t have a great year, so it’s nice to have a place to play. I’ve never been to Canada, so hopefully I keep doing well on the Web, but if not, I have a great plan going up North.” – Will Zalatoris

“I think, if anything, I know this is a very non-smart answer, but acting more as a professional and staying patient during rounds and knowing the day-to-day stuff is what I’ve really learned the past year-and-a-half. Going back to my junior career, there’re shots I think back on and gain confidence from. You remember shots from tournaments you’ve won, one or two shots here or there. I remembered a few numbers today from tournaments I’ve won, those are things you keep in the back of your mind.” – Will Zalatoris

“Really, it started right before I got to college. I was a late bloomer, actually I was an early and a late bloomer with a poor middle. I grew a bunch, but I was 13 or 14 and competing against 18-year olds, so they were three or four years older than me. I think going forward, that final summer going into my freshman year, I knew I could play. I won three times in six weeks against stellar fields, so that was the turning point where I said, ‘I know I can do this.’” – Will Zalatoris

“I’m a travel nut. I would love to see Toronto and travel to Vancouver and all the other big cities, but if anything, it’s the off-the-path stuff you remember. Some of my best memories since turning pro are the middle of nowhere places and little memories like that. The stuff I don’t know is what I’m looking forward to.” – Will Zalatoris

“It’s the same scenario as last year. I finished T9 and got out of rhythm and didn’t play well. My game is in a lot better form, I’ve put a lot more work in and I’m coming with a better attitude so I’m looking forward to starting the year, playing well early and building momentum into the year instead of grinding to make cuts early and being worried of playing after the reshuffle, that’s not what I want in the back of my mind. Today was a bit of a struggle but I held it together and the game is in good shape.” – Jamie Sadlowski

“You have to go through the phase where you struggle and you have to figure it out for yourself, nobody is going to help you. My first year, three years ago, I was kind of wet behind the years. It was my first year of professional golf, I had condition status and played my way in after a top-20 in Kelowna and played pretty well. I almost kept my card, which was a good starting point to being professional. Last year was a disaster. I learned a lot, I had to dig it out of the trenches, it’s something you don’t want to go through again. This year I’m in better form and in a better mindset, so I’m looking forward to that first event in Vancouver.” – Jamie Sadlowski

“This is the first step in a long journey. A few weeks ago, I didn’t think it would happen because I’ve been on the alternate list for a while, but my goal was to get status. Obviously, you want to win, but knowing you have to come top-14 to get six starts, it changes things on a few shots, there are a few tucked pins you don’t go after. Status is big, I didn’t want to have to go back home and try to Monday qualify, and that’s what I was looking at. This gives me a chance to compete and travel and learn that life for a Summer with the end goal of getting to the Web, or at least get through a few stages of Web Q-School.” – Hayden Buckley

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.