Knopik beats Lingle in 3-hole playoff at WDJTOnce he watched Drew Lingle slice out of bounds, Nathaniel Knopik knew he just had to play relaxed golf over four more shots.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Once he watched Drew Lingle slice out of bounds, Nathaniel Knopik knew he just had to play relaxed golf over four more shots.
Knopik and Lingle each shot one-over-par 73 on their first 18 holes of the Western Dakota Junior Tour summer golf series’ stop at Heart River Golf Course on Monday.
Knopik then defeated Lingle in an entertaining three-hole playoff to win medalist honors for the boys 16- to-18-year-old championship flight and become the Tour’s new points leader.
“I was playing really good today, I was striking the ball and everything,” said Knopik, who will be a senior at Dickinson Trinity in the fall.
Knopik seized control when Lingle was forced to take a drop after his tee shot off No. 10 sliced right and out of bounds on the third playoff hole.
Knopik sent his tee shot left to the No. 18 fairway, put his approach shot on the bottom of the green and two-putted his way to victory.
Lingle didn’t make it easy though.
He nearly recovered from the drop by putting his approach shot short of the green and then hitting an uphill chip shot within two feet of the hole. Had Knopik three-putted, the two would have gone to a fourth playoff hole.
“I was hitting a big fade all day, and I guess just overcooked it right there really bad and put it down into a house down the hill,” Lingle said with a laugh. “But I hit a good shot coming back on the second one and gave myself a chance to win it.”
Knopik laughed and said he was almost certain Lingle was going to chip in on his fourth shot after watching it land on the green and begin rolling uphill.
“I saw it going, and the first thought in my mind was that it might go in,” Knopik said, smiling and putting his hands over his face. “I was happy it didn’t. It was a good chip though.”
The duo both pared the first playoff hole on No. 10 and then birdied No. 18, the second playoff hole, with a pair of spectacular approach shots and putts.
Knopik felt his big shot of the day came on the first playoff hole. His approach shot ended up in the rough on top of the green, which forced him to chip downhill toward the cup.
A soft chip put Knopik about seven feet away from the hole and he putted in to save par.
“I knew I had to get a really good chip and sink a putt for par if I had any chance,” Knopik said. “The chip I had was impossible. There was no way I could get that close. I played it the best I could and made sure I could make that putt.”
Bismarck’s Tyler Miller finished second in the championship flight with a 74. Natalie Brown, an Arizonian spending time in North Dakota this summer, was the lone girl in the 16-18 division. She shot a 94.
Dickinson’s Jaret Lee won the boys 13-15 division with an 81. Jamestown’s Sierra Bennion won the girls 13-15 division with a 90.
Dickinson’s Tyce Halter won the boys 10-12 division with a 52 over nine holes. Dickinson’s Gabby Knopik won the girls 10-12 division with a 42.
Western Dakota Junior Tour
At Heart River Golf Course, Dickinson
Boys 16-18: 1 (tie), Nathaniel Knopik 73; Drew Lingle, 73 (Knopik won three-hole playoff). 3, Tyler Miller, 74. 4 (tie), Jacob Dehne, Nick Nustad 76. 6, Taran Albright 77. 7, Jordan Smith, 78. 8 (tie), Tyler Kast, Beyer Jordan 79. 10 (tie), Braxton Heupel, Jeffrey Pitcher 81. 12 (tie), Troy Ressler, Brent Weber, 82. 14 Austin Schauer 85. 15, Matt Schirado 89. 16, Patrick Bourgois 99.
Boys 13-15: 1, Lee Jaret 81. 2, Carter Klein 82. 3, Jordan Christianson 84. 4, Spencer Marchaus 90. 5 (tie), Tony Kostelecky, Carter Donnan 91. 7, Michael Scmidt 92. 8 (tie), Ian Geller, Jerzey Martin 93. 10, Gavin Rueb 97. 11, Eric Schapel 105. 12, Tyler Kostelecky 124.
Boys 10-12: 1, Tyce Halter 52. 2, Alden Hoener 77.
Girls 16-18: 1, Natalie Brown 94.
Girls 13-15: 1, Sierra Bennion 90. 2, McKinley Bender 100.
Girls 10-12: 1, Gabby Knopik 42.