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Knapp brothers sizzle at Costa Mesa City Championship

Golf

Brothers Ryan and Jake Knapp shoot 63 and 64 on Mesa Linda to climb to top of leaderboard in Costa Mesa City Championship.

August 04, 2012|By Bryce Alderton

Then on the 390-yard, par-four 18th, he blasted a drive and had a tricky pitch for his second shot. Jake needed to stand on a slope caused by the lip of a bunker short of the green. No problem, as he chipped on and made an 11-footer for birdie.

"It's probably the best condition I've ever seen it in," Jake said of the course. "The greens are a little bit firmer, but, like the guys are saying, they are not as firm as last year. It was good to have an early time, so the greens are rolling nice."

The Knapps were in the 6:40 a.m. group with Newport Harbor High product Travis Russell, who shot 72 Saturday and is transferring to UCI from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The final groups will begin at 1:10 p.m. Sunday and continue until the leaders tee off at 2 p.m. on Los Lagos.

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"I wasn't striking my irons very well, but took advantage of my good shots," said Jake, headed to UCLA this fall after graduating from Estancia. "I missed a short putt on 13 and made par. I made some good par and birdie putts and struck the ball well off the tee.

"Pins are impossible. Some of these pins, [tournament director] Sean [Collins] gets a little mean. It makes the course tougher, but it gives it some teeth."

The pin on 18 was snug front, about 3 yards off the front fringe.

Moorhead's round included three straight birdies on holes 11 through 13. He also birdied the 188-yard par-three 17th. Moorhead stuck a six-iron and firmly rolled in an 11-footer. Moorhead said the course had tricky pins and quick greens.

"I hit the ball well, my tee shots were good, but I didn't putt so well," said Moorhead, entering his first year at USC this fall. "If I can putt better, it would take a lot of the stress off."

Carpenter, the current Big Canyon club men's champion, struggled early, with bogeys on three of his first holes.

"You've got to make a bunch of birdies and I only had two," Carpenter said. "The course is tough. You know where they are going to put the pins, sometimes on borderline sidehills.

"The tough pins are the course's only defense."

Any difficult hole location couldn't stop either Ryan or Jake Knapp Saturday.

"We both told each other no matter what we were going to have a good time and it helps with the scores a little bit too," Ryan said.

Asked what it would mean to win the championship today, Ryan said, "I've been playing here since I could walk. All the guys who work here are like family. It would mean a lot."

OCC's Marcus-Mercado Kiel, a Newport Harbor graduate, shot 73 while teammate Zach Eddy tallied 75. Will Tipton (Big Canyon) shot 76 while Newport Harbor graduate Carter Norris finished with 77.

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