Southern California Amateur: Kanda finishes it

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (July 1, 2007)-- In a round that was far more eventful than the final score indicates, Brett Kanda of La Crescenta fired an even-par 71 at Victoria Club to win the 108th SCGA Amateur Championship by three shots.

The 20-year-old Kanda, a redshirt sophomore at UNLV, finished at 68-66-70-71--275, 9-under-par at the venerable Victoria course (which opened in 1903), and three shots ahead of UC Irvine grad Brian Edick.

Edick's 4-under-par 67 today made him the runner-up for the third consecutive year in the nation’s second-oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship.

Newly-crowned California Amateur champion Josh Anderson of Murrieta had a hole-in-one on the 5th hole (hitting 9 iron) en route to a 3-under-par 68 good for third place today and 5-under-par overall, a shot in front of UC Irvine student Timothy Cha of Irvine, who also posted 68 today.

Following the tournament, Kanda, Anderson and reigning SCGA Mid-Amateur champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge were named to represent the SCGA in the 41st Pacific Coast Amateur Championship Aug. 7-10 at San Diego Country Club.

The win was Kanda’s first since he won the 2005 CIF-SCGA Southern California High School Championship at The SCGA Golf Course. Kanda had contended in the SCGA Amateur each of the last two years, finishing 5th in 2005 and T6 last year.

Kanda’s 72-hole total was the third-best total score since tournament shifted to stroke play from match play in 1957. Tiger Woods shot 270 when he won in 1994 at Hacienda GC and Brad Greer shot 274 in 1985 when he won at Virginia CC. Kanda’s 9-under-par total was a shot behind the margins of Greer and Woods (Hacienda played to a par 70).

This year when youth dominated (14 of the top 15 golfers were in their 20s) Kanda seemed firmly in control as he birdied three consecutive early holes and moved to 12 under par through nine holes, building a seven-shot lead.

However, Kanda made double-bogey 6 on the 10th hole when he yanked his drive into thick rough on the left (“The rough is a killer there,” he said later), leaving him with no choice but to punch back into the fairway. Kanda compounded his problems with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13.

Meanwhile, Edick, who began the day seven shots behind Kanda, rang up birdies on three early back-nine holes and suddenly the lead was down to two shots.

“I was never worried,” said Kanda. “Because I knew I had two par-5 holes coming up.”

Kanda birdied both of those holes and Edick could do no better than par in the rest of the way.

“I didn’t hit the ball well enough to win,” said Edick. “I knew I had to keep the pedal down the entire round but I let the round get away.”

Although he began the day with a five-shot lead, Kanda tried to maintain his routine throughout the day.

“I hit the same clubs off the tee and tried to make birdies,” said Kanda. “There’s always pressure when you have a big lead. Things start to pop in your head and you have to find a way to control your emotions.”

Two-time defending champion Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes closed with a 1-under-par 70 today and finished T13, the only mid-amateur to appear in the top 15. McGihon had been unable to practice as much as he wanted prior to the event. “I really wanted to take a run at it,” said McGihon on his bid to become the first person ever to win three consecutive titles and just the fourth to win four titles overall. “I think I could have done some damage on this course, but it wasn’t to be.”

For complete results, click on the "see also" link at top of article and use the results tab.

--Story courtesy SCGA
ABOUT THE Southern California Amateur

The SCGA Amateur is one of the nation’s oldest continuously contested amateur golf championships. The first SCGA Amateur was held less than one year after the Southern California Golf Association was formed on July 29, 1899. Only the Utah Amateur, begun in 1899, has a longer consecutive string (the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur both predate the SCGA Amateur, but both USGA events were suspended during war years). A match play format was used for the first 58 years of the tournament. In 1957, the format was changed to 72 holes of stroke play. In 1973, increasing interest and the number of entries resulted in regional qualifying with a 36- hole finale. The 72-hole stroke play format was reinstituted in 1974. In addition to the championship itself, for many years the tournament also had net competition in flights. However, due to the increasing popularity of this portion of the tournament, a separate SCGA Amateur Net Championship was created in 1993.

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