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Kanda taking the next step

Flintridge Prep grad and La Crescenta resident has finished his days at UNLV and has set sites on a pro career.

July 27, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk,

Before the sun is all the way up, Brett Kanda is hard at work on the golf course. By the time the blazing mid-morning desert heat begins to scorch Las Vegas, he's already off the links and headed to the gym, a daily regimen that has become the norm after graduating from UNLV in the spring.

Since starring at Flintridge Prep and then going on to a standout four-year career at UNLV, golf has been at the forefront of Kanda's life as a student-athlete.

Now, it's his job.

"College golf's tough because it's an individual sport, obviously, but you're still playing for your team," Kanda says. "Instead of going right out, you're gonna take a little bit safer route because you know you have to play for your team.


"Now, you have to shoot so low, the mind frame changes a little bit. In college there wasn't a cut. There are cuts now and if you don't make the cut, you're not getting a paycheck."

Kanda more than proved himself as a Division I college player, recording a scoring average of 73.46 in 37 rounds of competition his senior year, turning in four top-20 finishes, including two top-10s and a top-five.

His consistent play, as well as his leadership as a team captain, helped the Rebels win four tournaments during the regular season, ascend to a No. 12 national ranking and qualify for the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship for the first time in four years.

"I think he has a really terrific, fundamentally sound swing and I think his overall competitiveness is what it takes to go to the next level," UNLV men's golf Coach Dwaine Knight says. "I always felt he had a tour type of game and swing."

But upon completing his senior year and college career, there was no draft-day signing for Kanda. No media fanfare or training camp ushered him from the amateur ranks to the next level.

And, in an arduous and competitive individual sport where profitability is tied directly to your performance event by event, the difficult process of achieving the status of a professional golfer basically began from Square One this summer.

It didn't stay there long, however.

Kanda has already competed in several pro tournaments over the last couple months, including a Golden State Golf Tour event and the Sierra Nevada Open July 6-8 in Reno, and he's set to play in the Long Beach Open beginning on Thursday.

He also tried his hand at a Nationwide Monday qualifier on June 14, the Fort Smith Classic in Fort Smith, Ark., which is more of a precursor to his immediate plans.

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