Jake Kneen wins 2014 Michigan Junior Amateur

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Jake Kneen (above) of White Lake won the 36th Michigan Junior Amateur at Battle Creek Country Club on August 31.

Kneen, 18, won 1-up over James Piot, 15, of Canton.

This was the 36th edition of the Michigan Junior Amateur, and was presented by Miles of Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist.

Full press release follows:

White Lake’s Jake Kneen wins 36th Michigan Junior Amateur at Battle Creek Country Club

BATTLE CREEK – Jake Kneen rolled in a steaming and sharply breaking 30-foot putt on the undulating 14th green at Battle Creek Country Club Thursday, and his father Scott couldn’t contain his excitement.
“Yes,” he yelled from a hill nearby.

Yes, the shot was critical as the White Lake 18-year-old maintained a 2-up lead and held on to beat 15-year-old James Piot of Canton 1-up in the final match of the 36th Michigan Junior Amateur presented by Miles of Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist.

“It was a very difficult putt, but James was already in for par so it was make it or lose the hole,” Kneen said of the putt that followed a rescue flop shot from well over the green. “I gave it a good run and it went in. That was big.”

Piot, who went on to win the par 5 15th hole with a birdie to close to just 1-down in the match, said the putt at 14 shocked him.

“Once he drained that 30-foot slider, I mean, I didn’t expect him to make that,” said the recent Michigan Junior Stroke Play winner. “So it was a huge putt. It made it hard to beat him with him doing things like that. I mean, he didn’t miss a green until the 12th hole, so it was hard to make up strokes on him anyway. He played great all day. That’s really why he won.”

Kneen, who is headed to Oakland University for school and golf, called the win his most impressive golf accomplishment.

“I won a high school regional by five shots so that was fun, but this one trumps all because you play two days of stroke play and then five tough matches to win against the best junior golfers in the state,” he said. “I’m really pleased with the way I played all week and especially today. James is such a good player. He will get more chances at this.”

Kneen beat Alex Scott of Traverse City 3 and 2 in a semifinal match, and knocked off defending champion Donnie Trosper of Canton in 19 holes in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to earn his spot in the title match.

Piot, meanwhile, beat Dylan Deogun of Orchard Lake 1-up in the semifinal round and topped Joey Hildebrand of Bloomfield Hills 4 and 3 in the quarterfinals.

Kneen, who birdied the first hole and led for 17 holes of the match, said it was a little sad that it was his last Junior Amateur (age limit 18).

“But I’m so glad to end it like this and get my name on that trophy,” he said.

The list of defending champions in the history of the tournament is impressive and includes notables like Ryan Brehm, Joey Garber, Andrew Chapman, Danny Janson, Michael Harris and Jeff Roth.

See http://www.gam.org for the final match play bracket and results. Follow the Golf Association of Michigan on Facebook.

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