GLENDALE — With two solid rounds of stroke play in the books, Brett Kanda can now breathe a bit easier.
The La Crescenta resident and a senior-to-be at UNLV shot one of his better rounds in some time to stay in line to possibly capture his first California Amateur Championship.
Kanda finished with 10 pars and five birdies on Tuesday morning to record a three-under-par 69 at the championship’s 98th installment at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City. He finished in a four-way tie for eighth with a two-day total of 142 to move on to match play today after making the 32-player cut.
Kanda, a former All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year and a 2005 Flintridge Prep graduate, had all parts of his game working Tuesday.
Kanda, 22, will move on to match-play competition after missing the cut at last year’s event, which was held at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale and Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake.
The cut was 146 with the top 32 from the field of 156 moving on to match play.
“I started off hot by going six-under through 13,” said Kanda, who opened with a 73 on Monday and will meet Patrick Duncan, Jr. of Rancho Santa Fe in today’s first round at 9:45 a.m. “I stumbled a little bit after, but I had a big enough cushion that helped me out.
“I didn’t have to worry coming down the stretch. There were perfect conditions, it wasn’t too cool and the greens were soft and smooth. I’m happy to be moving on.”
Kanda, who was the second seed in 2007 before losing in the opening round of match play, was pleased with his short game, particularly in it getting him off to a good start, as he needed just 10 putts to get through the front nine.
“I wanted to make a lot of birdies, and a round like [Tuesday], can go a long way because it’s about putting and having a good short game in match play,” Kanda said. “My ball striking was real good, and my tee shots were on with the exception of one or two. It’s just nice to not be near the cutoff number.”
Kanda finished tied with Jeffrey Oxandaboure of Carlsbad, Scott Travers of Trabuco Canyon and Josh Anderson of Murrieta. Anderson won the championship in 2007.
Nick Delio, who won the tournament last year, and Geoff Gonzalez tied for first with a 135. Tim Hogarth, who captured the event in 1999, was third with a 136.
Kanda, who birdied the third, fourth, 10th 16th and 17th holes, said going to match play suits him.
“I love match play because you know exactly what you have to do,” said Kanda, an Oakmont Country Club member who captured the CIF/Southern California Golf Assn. Final and placed sixth at the CIF-California Golf Assn. State Championship in 2005. “I think putting will be huge.”
The second round of match play will be held Thursday, with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday. The 36-hole championship round will take place Saturday.