State championship gets rough

All hail the grass of Oakmont Country Club, left long in the rough and cut tight on the greens. Taking on all 156 competitors, the par-72 course chewed up and spit out a number of golfers, allowing no scores lower than five-under (67), well-above the club record of 63.

Mother Nature did her part as well, creating a muggy day that rivaled anything on the East Coast.

How did some of the best amateur players in California play?

“Bad,” said Tim Hogarth, who won the championship in 1999. Hogarth shot a 75, three-over par, at the ruthless course and missed the cut, with an aggregate 149 (seven-over).

Likewise, players expecting to do well this year didn’t do how they wanted. Many of the golfers who played their first stroke play round at Oakmont ended up missing the cut.

La Crescenta native Brett Kanda shot a 76 at Oakmont and a one-over 71 at the par-70 Lakeside on the second day.

His five-over aggregate score was one shot over the cut.

Kanda, who had played in the three previous state amateur championships, must have felt like the California Golf Association’s decision to play at Oakmont this year, the first time the championship had been played outside of Monterrey County, was a gift from the gods. The Flintridge Prep grad considers Oakmont his home course and has played the course for years.

“This was one of the worst rounds I’ve played here,” said the University of Nevada in Las Vegas junior of his Monday round. “I had no idea what I was doing. I hit, like, two fairways and a couple greens, I was grinding all day.”

Though Kanda struggled early at Lakeside the following day, he birdied two of his final seven holes.

Local golfer and Oakmont Club member Keith Kinsel struggled as well, but not at Oakmont.

Kinsel shot a stellar three-under par 69 at Oakmont, but came undone at Lakeside, shooting a 78.

Like Kanda, he missed the cut by one stroke.

One of the players to advance to the match-play round was Kanda’s playing partner for the weekend and reigning California Amateur Champion Josh Anderson.

Though Anderson didn’t control the course, he contained it and shot a 73. His two-under 68 at Lakeside got him in to the match-play round easily.

Similarly, Matt Hoffenberg, an 18-year-old from Simi Valley, shot two-under at Lakeside and par at Oakmont for an aggregate two-under and the No. 1 overall seed in match play.

An additional tournament was held between Northern and Southern California in stroke play, with the Southern and Northern California Golf Associations each selecting six players to represent.

Kanda, Kinsel and Hogarth were chosen to represent the south while Anderson and a handful of others were selected to represent the north.

The northern team was victorious by a single stroke over the two-day event, beating the south 721-722

Match play is currently under way at Lakeside and, as of Thursday afternoon, Hoffenberg had advanced to the round of eight with a victory over Matthew Marshall, one up.

Anderson was eliminated yesterday in the round of 16, by James Erkenbeck, 18, of San Diego, 2 and 3.

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