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Sean Knapp finally wins a USGA championship, on his 43rd attempt

2017 U.S. Senior Amateur
Chris Keane

Sean Knapp holding the trophy after winning the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

MINNEAPOLIS – Just moments before his victory in the 63rd U.S. Senior Amateur Thursday morning at the Minikahda Club, Sean Knapp was in tears. Having reached his first final in a USGA championship in 43 tries, Knapp didn’t need any distractions, and he usually refrains from checking his phone as he warms up. This time he couldn’t help himself, and he noticed a text from a family friend back home in Oakmont, Pa., who wrote that Sean’s late father “had such pride with you playing golf. And I can tell right now that he’s smiling.”

“I’m sitting there like, ‘I’ve got to play here soon,’ ” Knapp said. “But, you know, that just made this whole week all the more meaningful.”

Knapp managed to steady himself, and although he didn’t convert a birdie in the final, his scrambling and putting were more than enough to upend former two-time winner Paul Simson, 2 and 1.

If at first you don’t succeed, try 42 more times.

“Boy, what’s the right adjective to describe it? Certainly, you would classify something in terms of the unexpected,” said Knapp, 55, who is believed to be the sixth youngest to win the championship for amateurs 55 and older and is the first newcomer to capture the Frederick L. Dold Trophy since Louis Lee in 2011. “At the end of the day, just before I got here, weird things started…

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