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Golf: Knapp earns first PGA Tour Canada win of season at Cragun’s

Results from the final round of the PGA Tour Canada's CRMC Championship at Cragun's Legacy Courses.

Jake Knapp holds up an ax trophy.
Jake Knapp holds up the ax trophy he won Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, during the PGA Tour Canada’s CRMC Championship presented by Gertens at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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EAST GULL LAKE — Jake Knapp was five shots off the PGA Tour Canada’s CRMC Championship presented by Gertens cutline with just three holes to go Friday, Aug. 26.

The 28-year-old from Costa Mesa, California, then birdied the par 5 16th hole, aced the par 3 17th and eagled the par 5 18th to just make the cut at 5-under-par. Then on Sunday, Aug. 28, he went on to win the whole tournament.

Knapp fired a final-round 64 to hold off Wil Bateman, who finished second at -24, and win the inaugural event at Cragun’s Legacy Courses with a four-day 254 or 26-under-par.

Knapp held the 54-hole lead thanks to a 61 in Saturday’s third round to put him at 20-under for the tournament. He opened his round with a birdie on hole one and birdied the seventh for a modest 2-under 33 on the front of the 7,000-yard par 70. Like he stated the front, Knapp birdied the 10th hole and added birdies on 132, 15 and 18 for the two-stroke victory.

Jake Knapp tees off Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, during the PGA Tour Canada’s CRMC Championship presented by Gertens at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Jake Knapp tees off Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, during the PGA Tour Canada’s CRMC Championship presented by Gertens at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“Today, it was nice not having to do anything too crazy to win,” Knapp said. “The more shots you can build up before then the better. We kind of talked about that — that stretch from 10 to 16, they’re birdie holes, but they’re also holes you can’t really afford to mess up. Anytime you’re playing with a lead you want to make sure you don’t go backward. I played conservatively aggressive today. I knew I was hitting it well so if there were holes that fit me I was taking it at the pin.

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"I just stayed really patient all day. 16, I didn’t get that one to fall unfortunately but hit good putts on 16 and 17. I wasn’t sure if I would be tied or what I would need coming into 18 and hit two great shots and from there it was sealed.”

Knapp’s father is a Wisconsin native and his mother is from Winnipeg so the family traveled from California to be in attendance for their son’s first victory of the 2022 season.

“To have all of them here is pretty special,” Knapp said. “When I’m on the course I don’t talk to them. I don’t look at them. I just kind of put my head down and do my work. Obviously, being able to have them here tonight and have dinner with them every night it’s just been nice to spend some time with them for sure.

“It’s a group effort. They’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it over the course of my life. After a few of the wins in 2019 it was pretty emotional. I have an emotional family so they do all the crying for me.”

While Knapp would love to come back and defend his title, he’s hoping he won’t be on the PGA Tour Canada field but rather the Korn Ferry Tour. He was sitting ninth in the Fortinet Cup standings heading into the CRMC. He needed 106 points to crack the top 5 and 217 to overcome Bateman who lead the standings by 11 points following last weekend’s CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open. It was projected that a victory would catapult Knapp to the top of the points standings, but Bateman's second-place finish may have held him away from the lead.

“There’s not a lot of courses where No. 1, we get to hit driver on the range and then also we get to hit a lot of drivers on the course,” Knapp said. “There is definitely a few holes where it’s an advantage to be able to carry some of these bunkers and not have to worry about them. I don’t think I hit it in a bunker all week, to be honest. I never lost a ball. I think I only made two bogeys and they were both on the first day. It was nice being able to go out there and hit driver and obviously, when you’re driving it well then the more you want to hit it.

“It was a really good course and I kind of knew it was going to fit my game well and it was nice to be able to perform when the course suits me.”

Bateman was sixth heading into the final round and was in the second to last group ahead of Knapp. It didn’t take the Canadian long to build momentum as he birdied the first four holes and six of the first seven for a front nine 29. He pushed his round to 8-under with birdies on 12 and 16, but a bogey on the par 3 17th derailed his come-from-behind bid. The 28-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, finished with a birdie on 18 to solidify his second-place finish.

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Bateman’s 62 was the second lowest round Sunday. Noah Goodwin fired a 61 to move up 23 spots and tie for 24th.

“It was the same game plan I had for most of the week and just went out there and tried to stay patient and obviously got off to a really good start,” Bateman said. “Then I finished really well the last two days on Friday and Saturday and kind of finished a little slower today. Overall, I’m really excited about the day.

“I’m very comfortable with my game right now. I’m playing some of the best golf of my life and I’ve been playing really well for a long time and it’s all just coming together right now. I’m just trying to ride the wave a little bit and just have fun.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

PGA Tour Canada

CRMC Championship presented by Gertens

Cragun’s Legacy Courses

1-Jake Knapp 254 -26

2-Wil Bateman 256 -24

3t-Thomas Walsh 258 -22

3t-Joe Highsmith 258 -22

3t-Ryan Gerard 258 -22

3t-Trent Philips 258 -22

3t-Conner Godsey 258 -22

8t-Guillaume Fanonnel 259 -21

8t-Myles Creighton 259 -21

8t-Alexander Herrmann 258 -21

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