SCGA Amateur: Kanda in lead after Day 1

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (June 29, 2007)-- For Brett Kanda of La Crescenta, the strategy to scoring well at venerable Victoria Club is simple: “Keep it in the fairway and make some putts," said the 20-year-old UNLV student after shooting 68-66 -- 134.

The 8-under-par round gave him a three-shot lead at the midpoint of the 108th Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Amateur Championship, the nation's second-oldest continuously contested amateur golf championship.

Kanda, who won the 2005 CIF-SCGA Southern California High School individual championship, is three shots ahead of 21-year-old Sean Shahi of Laguna Niguel, who posted rounds of 68-69 -- 137, 5-under-par.

Another two shots back is recently crowned California Amateur champion Josh Anderson of Murrieta, who rebounded from a 2-over-par 73 this morning to shoot 5-under-par 66 in the afternoon for a 142 total. Anderson is bidding to become the first person since legendary amateur Johnny Dawson to win the California Amateur and SCGA Amateur in the same year.

However, that wasn't the day's best comeback. David Bartman of Los Angeles, the 2005 Trans-Mississippi Mid-Amateur champion, shot 5-over-par 76 in the morning round, only to fire a 7-under-par 64 this afternoon (one shot off the course record). He is tied for fourth with five other players, including Brian Edick of Valencia (a recent UC Irvine graduate) who has finished runner-up in the last two editions of this event.

Two-time defending champion Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes shot even-par 71 this morning but slipped to a 74 this afternoon and is tied for 21st with a large group of golfers that includes Craig Steinberg of Oak Park, who is hoping to become just the second golfer in history to win five SCGA Amateur titles. If McGihon can mount a major comeback, he could become the first golfer ever to win three consecutive titles and the fourth to win four or more championships.

Following today's play, the field was cut to the low 49 golfers who shot 149 or better. They will play in third round that begins tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 a.m. with the leaders teeing off at about 9:30 a.m. The same times will prevail for Sunday. Gallery is welcome at no charge. Live hole-by-hole scoring will be at www.scga.org.

Kanda made three birdies and 15 pars in the morning round over the 6,458-yard, par-71 layout. In the afternoon, he began with two birdies in his first four holes and, after making bogey 5 on the ninth hole, holed 100-yard sand wedge shot for an eagle 2 on the 10th hole. He also made eagle 3 on the 15th hole and only a three-putt bogey on the 17th hole prevented him from tieing the course record. "Ive never made two eagles on a nine before," Kanda noted later.

"The rough was long today," said Kanda. "But I was hitting the ball pretty well all day, managed my game well and made some putts. Those things will be the key for the next two days."

The 18-year-old Anderson was pleased with his afternoon round but it could have been lower. He made five birdies and an eagle in six holes, but bogeyed the par-3 fifth and par-4 ninth holes coming in. The eagle came on the 300-yard, par-4 second hole when he drove the ball to within eight feet of the hole and made the putt.

After three-putting the par-3 seventh hole (his 16th of the day), Anderson pushed his drive on the par-4 ninth into thick trees, sent his approach into virulent rough to the left of the green, hacked it out short of the green, chipped to with two feet and sank the bogey putt.

"I was happy to hang in there," said Anderson. "You've got to keep it in the fairways here because it’s really hard to recover from the rough no matter where you hit it. Overall, I'm happy with where I am."

Bartman had no explanation for his dramatic turnaround.

"Maybe I concentrated a little more," he said after his 64 in the afternoon. "I felt better right from the beginning with the first hole (No. 10) when I drove it in the center of the fairway hit a sand-wedge approach to 20 feet and made the birdie putt.

Things went so well that after Bartman's drive on the first hole landed in the water, he took a drop and knocked in the next shot from 160 yards out to make an unlikely birdie.

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--SCGA article

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