EUGENE, Ore. – Jeff Wilson became the first medalist in 31 years to win the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, beating defending champion Sean Knapp 2 and 1 on Thursday at Eugene Country Club.
The 55-year-old Wilson, a car dealership owner from Fairfield, California, won his first USGA title. He won the 13th, 14th and 15th holes to take a 2-up lead and ended the match with a par halve on the par-4 17th.
''First you've got to get over yourself and then you have to beat the guy playing with you. And it's difficult,'' Wilson said. ''I always thought I was good enough to be a USGA champion, but I never put the work in. And that shows up when the matches are on the line. This year, I put the work in.''
The 56-year-old Knapp, from Oakmont, Pennsylvania, was trying to become the first back-to-back champion since William C. Campbell in 1979-1980.
''How is this his first (USGA) win?'' Knapp asked. ''Anybody that's played amateur golf at a high level has known Jeff Wilson. He's a superstar. You did not see a senior golfer out there. You saw one of the best amateur golfers in the country.''
Knapp took the lead with a birdie win on the par-4 11th. Wilson tied it with a birdie win on the par-5 13th, took the lead with a par on the par-4 14th and doubled the advantage with a birdie on the par-4 15th. They halved the par-5 16th with birdies.