Kanda seeks better results

GLENDALE — Playing on two of the more familiar local golf courses in the area and not making the cut in one of the state’s most prestigious golf tournaments last year initially bothered Brett Kanda.

A litmus test for succeeding can sometimes come by regrouping from poor performances. A couple of subpar rounds have since been erased by Kanda, a La Crescenta resident and former Flintridge Prep standout.

Kanda will look to turn in a better effort when he competes in the 98th California Amateur Championship, which will begin Monday at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City. The six-day championship will feature stroke-play competition Monday and Tuesday before the top 32 from the field of 156 advance to match-play competition Wednesday through June 27. The championship round will take place June 27.

The tournament was held last year at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale and Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake after only being held in Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach. Kanda finished in a disappointing seven-way tie for 30th, along with Glendale resident Keith Kinsel.

“I’ve tried to erase last year from my mind,” said Kanda, who will be a senior at UNLV in the fall and is a member of the Oakmont Country Club. “I’m a completely different player.”

Kanda, who was selected as the 2005 All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year, will compete on the Daly City course for the first time. Kanda, 22, will look to reverse his fortune on the course nestled near San Francisco.

It will be Kanda’s fourth appearance in the tournament in as many years. He will be paired with Dino Giacomazzi of Seaside and Gregor Main of Danville for a tee time of 1:30 p.m. Monday and 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.

“I’ve talked to some people about the course, and they said it’s similar to the Olympic Club in San Francisco,” Kanda said. “I don’t know how the roughs will be, and I’m sure that the greens will be quick.

“I’ve been working at getting ready for five tournaments that I’ll be playing in from now through the end of summer. My practice sessions have been hard enough so that when I get to the tournaments, it will be easier for me. I want to get all of the parts of my games rounded up to get me ready for the tournaments, starting with this one.”

Kinsel, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, said he won’t compete in the championship this season for several reasons.

“I pulled out of it because of work and I have two children,” said Kinsel, a multiple Oakmont Country Club champion. “I haven’t been able to put a lot of time into golf because of that.

“It’s just bad timing, plus I just moved. I’ll try again next year.”

Nick Delio of Valencia bested Austin Roberts, 7 and 5, to win the championship last year. Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller, Duffy Waldorf and Mark O’Meara are among some of the previous tournament winners. Jack F. Neville won the tournament a record five times.

 CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or charles.rich@latimes.com.

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