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Kanda leans on early edge to take title

July 02, 2007|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

It had been awhile since Brett Kanda played in the final group of a tournament with a lead, so he didn't have much experience to draw on Sunday in the final round of the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship at Victoria Club in Riverside.

Instead he relied on what had been successful for him: the previous two rounds.

It worked.

Kanda, who took a five-shot lead into the final round, overcame a rocky start to his final back nine, shot an even-par 71 and won by three shots over Brian Edick with a four-round total of nine-under 275.

"I still tried to make birdies all day," Kanda said. "I wasn't going to try and be conservative. I hit the same clubs off the tees, did the same things I've been doing because it's been working."

It was the first tournament victory for Kanda since he won the 2005 CIF-SCGA title as a senior at La Canada Flintridge Prep. Last year as a redshirt freshman at Nevada Las Vegas, he was ninth in the Mountain West Conference championship.

In Riverside, he trailed by one after a first-round 68, led by four after a second-round 66 and increased the lead to five with a third-round 65.

"It's a good confidence-builder," he said. "There's pressure when you have a lead because things pop into your head, but you try to stay focused, and I did a good job. You never are really 100% used to it, but you just have to adapt to it."

For Edick, a Valencia resident who recently graduated from UC Irvine, it was the third consecutive time he had been runner-up in the SCGA Amateur. He made a run at this one with birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 14. Those, coupled with Kanda's double bogey on 10 followed by bogeys at 11 and 13, cut Kanda's lead to two, but Edick made no more birdies, and Kanda, who shot three-under 32 on the front, held on.

"This one doesn't seem to hurt as much because the other ones I was a little closer," said Edick, who began the day seven shots back and finished with a 67.

Josh Anderson of Murrieta, the reigning state amateur champion, was third at 279 as college-age players took 14 of the top 15 spots. Scott McGihon, 39, bidding to become the first to win three consecutive titles, finished 13th.

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