SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Amateur golfer Sean Knapp has a helping hand at the U.S. Senior Open: his 25-year old daughter, Kensey, is his caddie.
"She's been caddying for me since she was too young to understand what is going on," Sean said. "I love having her. She's a calming influence and it's nice that we can all come together through golf."
The father-daughter bond between Sean and Kensey is special.
"It's awesome to have this opportunity, Kensey said. "We've been so blessed that he's been able to play well for such a long period of time and just to spend that time with him, you can never get that any other way."
Right now, father-daughter time is more important than any outcome on the golf course. At the beginning of 2019, Kensey was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. The news came out of nowhere.
"Obviously at the beginning you are quite shocked," Kensey said. "Nobody at any age wants to deal with that."
"It's like any parent, you say, 'Why not me?'" Sean said. "You know there's distressing here's this kid who is 24 years old and has her whole future ahead of her. I'm sorry. And you know how could this be happening?"
But Kensey wasn't down for too long. She quickly turned that state of shock into action.
"My wife told me all of the things you could think of in that environment," Sean said. "When she started her cancer treatment, [she said] 'I know Dad is exempt to the U.S. Senior Open again. If there is anything I want to be able to do, I want to caddie.'"
"Just like an athlete, we are going to create an end goal and fight the whole way through," Kensey said. "This was the end goal - to get here."
Kensey made it here and is not taking any moment caddying for her dad at the U.S. Senior Open for granted.
"It's very special," Kensey said. "It's a moment you can never recreate. It's a moment you will never get again. It's just absolutely special."
Kensey's approach through this difficult stretch has given her father all the inspiration in the world.
"I couldn't have gone through this without her encouragement," Sean said. "She's been exceedingly positive from Day 1. Never a complaint. Never heard a word through chemo and through radiation. She's been perfect."
"It's not a death sentence," Kensey said. "If you approach it with that positive attitude that can do positive, you truly can overcome anything."