Southern California Amateur: Kanda extends lead

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (June 30, 2007)-- If it wasn’t for Brett Kanda of La Crescenta, the 108th SCGA Amateur Championship would be quite a horse race. But the 20-year-old UNLV junior heads into the final round of the championship tomorrow with a five-shot lead after shooting a 1-under-par 70 today at Victoria Club.

Kanda (one of just two players to shoot under par for all three rounds) is at 68-66-70--204, 9-under-par over the venerable Victoria layout. Justin Pitts of Bakersfield and Erik Jarvey of Palmdale are at 209 for three rounds (Jarvey, with rounds of 70-70-69, is the other player under par for all three rounds).

David Bartman of Los Angeles threatened Kanda’s lead midway through today’s action but fell back to a 1-under-par 70 today and is alone in fourth place at 210, 3-under-par.

Joe Greiner of Saugus, runner-up in last week’s California Amateur Championship, had today’s best round, a 6-under-par 65, and is in a five-way tie for fifth with a group that includes the last two California Amateur champions, Jordan Nasser of Anaheim Hills (2006) and Josh Anderson of Murrieta (2007).

Kanda, who posted four birdies and three bogeys in today’s round, was mildly disappointed with his play.

“I could have gone a lot lower today,” said Kanda. “For me this course is about a par 68 or 69, but I missed a lot of fairways today. My putter pretty much saved me, although I’m upset with missing a three-foot birdie putt on the last hole. But I’ve got a five-shot lead so I can’t complain too much.”

The key hole, in Kanda’s mind, was the 538-yard, par-5 fourth hole. After opening with two pars and a birdie, Kanda hit two shots into the hazard but managed to get up and down from 160 yards for a bogey. “That was a big confidence boost,” said Kanda later.

The 21-year-old Pitts, who is heading to Cal State Monterey Bay this fall, had five birdies and two bogeys on his 3-under-par round of 68.

“I hit a lot of wedges pretty close,” said Pitts. “Some of them were kick-ins and that helps the score.”

Pitts hopes his final round tomorrow duplicates his qualifying round for this event, when he shot 63 at Goose Creek GC in Mira Loma.

Jarvey, who has contended in the SCGA Amateur before (he opened and closed with 67s in the 2005 event and finished sixth), said, “My short game helped me a lot today. I figure I have to shoot 65 tomorrow to have a chance, which means I’d better get off to a hot start.”

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--Story courtesy SCGA
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