LOGIN  |  JOIN  |  INFO  |  BENEFITS member Jake Knapp scores breakthrough PGA Tour win
24 Feb 2024
by Pete Wlodkowski of

see also: , Jake Knapp Profile

Jake Knapp (right) was defeated in the round-of-16 by Austin James in 2015
Jake Knapp (right) was defeated in the round-of-16 by Austin James in 2015

Another Californian is having a breakthrough season on the PGA Tour. But unlike players like Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay, Jake Knapp's path career path hasn't. been a straight one. 

In fact, Knapp been anything but a household name since graduating from UCLA in 2015 and turning pro the previous year. He even worked as a bouncer at a nightclub before finally securing a PGA Tour card via a Top-30 position on the Korn Ferry Tour money list in 2023. 

“I don’t know if I’m big enough," he said to the manager when asked to transfer from a barback position, "But I can stand there and look tough.” 

At the beginning of the year, Knapp had only four guaranteed starts on the Korn Ferry Tour and chose to skip the first event to support his brother during a family milestone. Despite this, he secured four top-10 finishes early in the season. That's the kind of performance many would have expected even earlier from a player who once shot 61 at a U.S. Open qualifier at age 16, and who had such a strong collegiate and amateur career. 

And it allowed him to secure spots in the season-ending events, where he finished with a flourish that included two top-15 placements in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Nothing is guaranteed on the PGA Tour, not even making the field of every tournament. But after a T3 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, just 80 miles from his boyhood home of Costa Mesa. It was a fitting place for a breakthrough, given it was where Knapp played his first PGA Tour event, Monday qualifying in 2015. (He missed the cut by just two shots, after rounds of 73-72.)

The self-proclaimed journeyman owes at least part of the credit to a mental coach he met while working a wedding with his family's wedding planning business, telling

I was 27, and I told him, “I don’t know if I want to do this when I’m 30; grinding on mini-tours wears on you.” He said OK, and I committed to … if I was still at that point when I was 30, then that would be decision time. Once I told myself that I had three years to work through these different steps, it was a big relief. Three years is so much time. That freed me up to get back to it and not worry about the short term and put my mind back on things that are most important.

Jake Knapp's amateur career is marked by several notable achievements and a trajectory of consistent improvement. Here's a breakdown of his top finishes as an amateur and a brief overview of his time with the UCLA golf team:


Western Amateur (2015): Reached the Semifinals, showcasing his skills in one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the United States.

U.S. Amateur
(2015): Advanced to the Final 16, further proving his ability to compete at a high level.

Pacific Coast Amateur
 Had multiple strong showings, including a T12 finish in 2015 and a T20 finish in 2012.

U.S. Open Final Qualifying
(2015): Qualified for the U.S. Open, one of golf's four major championships, a significant milestone in his amateur career.

California Amateur Demonstrated consistent performances over the years, including reaching the Quarterfinals in 2015 and the Final 16 in both 2014 and 2013. 


Jake Knapp's complete rankings profile
Western Amateur down to final four at Rich Harvest Farms


During his time at UCLA, Jake Knapp was a key member of the golf team, contributing to its successes through his collegiate career. At UCLA, he would have competed in NCAA championships and regional tournaments, which are crucial for collegiate golfers looking to make a mark nationally. His NCAA Championship T38 finish in 2015 is indicative of his competitive play against the top collegiate golfers in the country. Participation in such tournaments not only honed his skills but also prepared him for the challenges of professional play.

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