Cantlay, a senior bound for UCLA, successfully defended his title with a 68.
Knapp wasn’t that far behind, as he tied for second at 72 with senior Chris Blystone from St. Joseph’s of Santa Maria.
Blystone beat Knapp in a one-hole playoff, as he sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-four No. 18, Knapp said. Blystone wasn’t a stranger to the course, as he lives 20 minutes from La Purisima, Knapp said.
Still, Knapp, who made par on the playoff hole, was pleased to advance to play at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta June 3.
Last year he shot a 79, three strokes from moving on.
“It helped me to play with [Cantlay],” Knapp said during a telephone interview. “He played better than me. He made a birdie on the second hole and I was chasing him all day. I think it was good. It was motivating me to keep on making birdies.”
Knapp finished with three birdies and three bogeys, battling windy conditions. He was one-over 37 on the front and one-under on the back.
Knapp, the Orange Coast League champion, moves on with confidence. He’s not concerned with the pressure that could come for achieving success early in his high school career.
“I don’t think of it as more pressure on me,” he said. “It’s because I definitely expect myself to play well. I’ve been paying real well recently. I don’t think there’s any reason why I shouldn’t play well next Wednesday.”
Knapp stayed smooth and consistent throughout his round Monday, Estancia Coach Art Perry said. After advancing Perry realizes expectations will rise for Knapp, especially since he had tied for second.
“He’s the guy to beat in the future,” Perry said of Knapp, while also acknowledging Moorhead will be a contender. “There’s a lot of talent coming out of the Newport-Mesa area.”