Jim Knoll (Mike Benham, for AmateurGolf.com)
In Northern California senior golf, Jim Knoll is the glue that holds this community together. Knoll loves the competition – and the camaraderie that goes with it – so much that he’s taken to spreading the word about different events throughout the year.
“It’s a labor of love,” Knoll said of the email communication he spearheads among a group of roughly 200 senior amateur golfers. It keeps the group together, and it keeps them interested in golf.
On Sunday, it was fitting that Knoll was the last senior standing at the San Francisco City Championship at TPC Harding Park. Knoll, who has remained competitive on different levels throughout his life, last won the senior division of this event in 2008. It was the first time he competed in the City as a senior and now eleven years later, he is back on top.
At 66 years old – and in the kind of dicey weather that a San Francisco spring can throw at you – that’s significant.
“I’m on the older side of the age group here – I’m playing guys 8-10 years younger than me,” Knoll said. “I’m giving up some yards, but it feels good to be able to compete on their level.”
Knoll is that sort of ever-positive player, in golf and in life. When stroke-play qualifying began for the City on March 5 – followed the next day by the first round of match play – it was a cold, soggy affair. Knoll calls that element the “mystique” of this tournament.
The reinstated amateur, who first played this event as an 18-year-old in 1970, tapped into patience and experience to get through the early part of the event.
“Being 66 years old I’ve done this for quite some time,” he said. “I was able to get through a couple matches where I wasn’t playing very well but I was able to hit enough good shots to put enough pressure on my opponents and outplay them to get to this weekend.”
Organization and good will aside, Knoll is a Northern California legend in his own right. He is a five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year.
To win his second City title, Knoll also had to get through some tough matches late in the tournament. He met NCGA Hall of Famer Randy Haag in the semifinals, winning 5 and 4, then faced off against Scott Schroeder in the championship match.
Knoll and Schroeder have known each other for nearly half a century. On Sunday, the title came down to the final hole, where Knoll made a 12-footer and Schroeder missed a 10-footer.
“He’s a very good player,” Knoll said of Schroeder, now a two-time runner-up in this event. “We played a really close match, I was behind most of the day.”
The San Francisco City Championship is something of a kickoff for golf in Northern California, and competition will ramp up in the following weeks. Count on Knoll being at the heart of it.
• • •
In the super senior division, Frank Pieper met Stuart Francis in the championship match and came out ahead, 5 and 3. Pieper hails from Carmel, Calif., and advanced through the bracket as the No. 4 seed.
ABOUT THE San Francisco City Senior
ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5:00 PM OCTOBER 1, 2021
SENIOR MEN'S DIVISION
$225 ENTRY FEE INCLUDES ALL GREEN FEES.
**Entry procedure for fall 2021:
Players who were in the field this spring before the
tournament was postponed will have first chance to re-register. They will be emailed an
access code to register, and registration for these players will open on July 1
Registration will then open for all other players on August 1
Open to the first 110 entries received. Participants must have an index
of 9.4 or lower
as of the date of entry and must be 55 or older as of the first day of
the tournament. Qualifying will consist of one 18-hole stroke play round
after which the Senior Men's Championship Flight will consist of 32 match play contestants.
In case of ties, a card-off (see SF City Golf
Championship Playoff Procedures) will determine the players who
will advance to match play. Players’ scores will
determine seeding for
match play. There will be no refunds
after entries close.
All rounds will be played at
TPC Harding Park
A schedule of all dates of
play can be found on the tournament website
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY
The oldest municipal
tournament in the
play event with scratch men's, senior, women's,
divisions. Past champions include Ken
Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg,
George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin.
Some of the 'non winners' include Tom
and Johnny Miller. Click the 'history' tab for
more about this wonderful event.
View Complete Tournament Information