“After the second hole, he didn’t miss a fairway or any holes,” said Kanda, who is a senior at UNLV. “He just did everything well, and I ran into a guy on a good day.
“I couldn’t get anything going. I didn’t play well enough to win, and he just got the upper hand on me.”
Kanda, the 2005 All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year, finished with nine pars, four bogeys, one birdie and one double-bogey.
An, who will attend the University of California, Berkeley, and Kanda each bogeyed and double-bogeyed the first and second holes, respectively. Then An birdied the third and fourth holes to take a two-shot lead. Kanda narrowed the deficit to one stroke after he parred the sixth hole, but An regained momentum after he birdied the ninth hole and Kanda bogeyed to take a three-shot advantage.
“I was fighting back,” said Kanda, who began stroke play Wednesday with a 1 up win against Kevin Tway. “I thought I could pick up a hole here and there.”
An maintained his three-stroke lead before clinching the match on the 15th hole. An posted four birdies, seven pars, three bogeys and one double-bogey.
Kanda, who birdied the 13th hole, advanced to match play after posting a two-round score of 147 in the stroke-play portion of the championship. He qualified for the championship Aug. 11 after he finished with a two-round score of 139 at The Prospector Golf Course at Suncadia Resort in Roslyn, Wash.
“It’s good to go out there and compete against the best competition,” Kanda said. “I’m starting to believe in myself and that can hopefully translate into me having a good college season.
“You play in a tournament like this and you realize what it takes and how hard you have to work. I’ve learned that you have got to stay patient and you can’t give up.”
Later Thursday, An defeated 27th-seeded Mike Van Sickle, 1 up, in a 20-hole match.
The quarterfinals will be held today.