Locals come up short

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Brett Kanda and Brennan Amirkhizi have gotten to know all of the nuances surrounding venerable Oakmont Country Club.

Kanda is a longtime club member and Amirkhizi has had his share of memorable rounds on the 89-year-old course as a member of the Glendale Community College men's golf team the past two seasons.

Both competitors strolled onto the course Monday morning to take part in the biggest rounds of their respective careers at the U.S. Sectional qualifying round.

Neither qualified for the 111th U.S. Open, which will take place June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. However, they both left the venue knowing they likely bettered their careers and what it might take to one day possibly compete in the U.S. Open following play in the 36-hole competition.

Flanked by family members, which included his father, Jim, serving as his caddie, Kanda finished tied for 10th with a 141. He opened with a one-over-par 72. The La Crescenta resident began with a birdie before recording a triple bogey and a double bogey to put him in a deep ditch. He then regrouped during the next nine holes by registering seven pars and a pair of birdies. He then rounded into form in the second round with a solid 69.

Kanda, a Flintridge Prep graduate and a former All-Area Boys' Golfer of the Year, said he needed a quick recovery to get him back into contention for one of five qualifying spots. He finished his 36-hole event with 10 birdies, 20 pars, four bogeys and one double-bogey.

"I had a good comeback in both of my rounds," said Kanda, who turned pro last year and will next compete in the Canadian Tour on Thursday in Kamloops, British Columbia. "I fought hard all day and those two holes in the first round cost me.

"In the second round, I played very well and I made a lot of putts to get me back into it. I got myself a lot of confidence from this [event]. It's disappointing not to qualify, but I'll regroup."

Amirkhizi, who played a large role in helping the Vaqueros advance to the state tournament before winning his local qualifier round May 17 at Crystalaire Country Club in Llano, finished with a two-round score of 153 to tie for 69th.

Amirkhizi, who earned medalist accolades at a Western State Conference match at Oakmont in April, started off his day with a first-round score of 74. However, Amirkhizi fell out of contention in the second round with a 79.

"It was fun and it was also a big learning experience for me," said Amirkhizi, who finished with 15 pars, six birdies, 13 bogeys and two double-bogeys. "I struggled almost all day and my nerves got the best of me for once.

"It's a little hiccup. I had some bad shots. It's a big tournament and you are out there going up against some of the best players. I'll try again next year."

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