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With a 66, Win Is Predictable

Flintridge Prep's Kanda, continuing his confident play this season, wins regional championship at SCGA Club.

June 03, 2005|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Brett Kanda called his shot Thursday, which is a pretty brash move considering he was about to play a one-round golf tournament.

Most golfers know that in such a format, one bad swing can knock you out of contention, but Kanda was so confident in the way he was playing heading into the Southern California regional championship that he told his coach he was going to win.

Kanda, a senior from Flintridge Prep, made that prediction come true with a six-under-par 66 at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta, good for a one-shot victory over Cameron Tringale of Mission Viejo.

Five players, including defending champion Rickie Fowler of Murrieta Valley, were two shots back at 68.

San Diego St. Augustine shot a five-player score of two-under 358 and won the team title by four shots over University of San Diego. Murrieta Valley, playing without injured starter Josh Anderson, was third at 366.

The top three teams and top six individuals advance to the state championships Wednesday at Poppy Hills Golf Club in Pebble Beach.

"My expectations were high coming into this," said Kanda, who has signed with Nevada Las Vegas. "I have been playing well all season and especially in the last couple of weeks, so this is not a surprise to me."

It was, however, redemption of sorts. Kanda did not qualify for the regional last year, because he did not finish among the top 26 at the Southern Section finals. That wasn't a problem this year, when he shot 69 and tied for fifth.

Kanda, who won an AJGA tournament in Las Vegas two years ago and has twice qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur championship, shot one under par over two rounds to win his league championship and was nine under for the season entering the regional tournament.

"He was on a roll," Flintridge Prep Coach Bob Loughrie said. "And when you have that kind of skill and get on a roll, good things can happen."

He started on No. 9 Thursday in the shotgun start and made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 13 to No. 1, including three in a row on Nos. 17, 18 and 1. He hit 15 greens in regulation and needed only 28 putts on fast greens that gave many players fits.

"After No. 1, I definitely felt I had a chance," said Kanda, the first champion in Flintridge Prep history. "I was making a lot of putts, but then you never know what Rickie is going to do."

Fowler, who twice hit into hazards Thursday and twice three-putted, shot a tournament-record 62 last year and set another tournament record with a 64 at the section championships last week, but said Thursday was all about the team.

Many discounted Murrieta Valley's chances of advancing after Anderson, the team's top player in 18-hole matches this year, broke his arm in an auto accident two weeks ago.

"We're still a strong team even without Josh," Fowler said. "We knew we could make it. We all knew we had to come out and put up some good numbers for the team."

All six individuals that advanced to the state championships came from the Southern Section. John Schmocker of Peninsula, Rui Takamatsu of Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian, Brian Locke of Playa del Rey St. Bernard and Michael Drake of Riverside King also shot 68.

Tringale, who has signed with Georgia Tech, qualified for the state championships for the second consecutive year.

"It's nice getting through," he said. "It means I get to miss more school."

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