Ryan Knop closed with rounds of 65-66 to win by 4
(Orlando International Amateur photo)
ORLANDO, FL (December 30, 2017) - Distance does not matter to Ryan Knop if there is good golf to be played. That much is clear as Knop criss-crosses the country on his winter break from Auburn University to play a full schedule of amateur golf events. The airline miles continue to pay off, however. Knop won the Orlando International Amateur for his second victory this month.
Despite hailing from Pleasanton, Calif., Knop decided to add the Orlando, Fla., event to his calendar because “it was the best event at the time.” A trio of Knops – mom, dad and younger brother – made the trek with him. It also served as a family vacation.
After the first two rounds at the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Golf Complex, Knop trailed University of North Carolina’s Austin Hitt by one shot. Knop started the final round with three consecutive birdies.
“My putter was definitely the key today,” said Knop, even though he admits the real strength of his game is in his ball-striking. When the two meet up, Knop can go very low, as evidenced in the final round.
By the time the final group had made the turn, Knop had a two-shot advantage. He continued to pull away from there, adding two more birdies and an eagle on the front side (the tournament began on No. 10). Knop finished the event at 16 under, four shots clear of Hitt.
Even though caddies were permitted in the event, Knop shouldered his own Auburn stand bag for 54 holes.
“More comfortable that way, I just kind of get in my own routine,” he said in explanation.
Knop’s International Orlando Amateur victory comes on the heels of winning the Amateurgolf.com Tour Championship hosted by Poppy Hills Golf Course on Dec. 17. If anything, the win in Orlando seemed much easier for Knop, who is playing such an intense competition schedule this winter partly because his game is firing right now. Knop left Orlando with eyes on the Seguaro Amateur in Maricopa, Ariz., to be played Jan. 1-4. After that, he’ll be back at Auburn for the start of the spring semester on Jan. 9.
“I felt like I was playing good at the end of the fall, so I felt like it would be kind of a waste if I just didn’t do anything over break,” he said. “My family and I agreed to play in some events and get some good rounds in before the spring season.”
Knop is a new addition to the Tiger team this year, having played his first year of college golf at UC Davis. He transferred to Auburn in the fall of 2016 but did not play any tournaments. This season, Knop played in two of Auburn's six fall starts. He was runner-up at the F&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate.
“It’s definitely a challenge playing with some really good players,” Knop said. “We have a big team but I think it has helped my game, which was kind of the goal of me transferring. Being around a bunch of good players, I think I’ve gotten a lot better since I made the move over there.”
William Buhl of the University of Arkansas took third place at 9 under, and high school sophomore Canon Claycomb (Bowling Green, KY) took fourth at 6 under. Ludvig Eriksson (Sweden) and Jordan Hahn of the University of Wisconsin shared fifth at 5 under.
ABOUT THE Orlando International Amateur
The Orlando International Amateur Championship is
an annual golf tournament gathering high-level
amateur golfers from the United States of America
and abroad. 54-hole stroke play championship,
playing 18 holes per day.
Open to low-handicap amateurs, players who play
college golf, players who have qualified for any of
current year's USGA or R&A championships, and
those who have the recommendation of their
country’s Federation or Association.
View Complete Tournament Information