Hot season continues for Chan, co-leads with Crouch at HFX Pro-Am

PGA TOUR Canada tee marker

Halifax, N.S. — On Friday morning at Oakfield Golf and Country Club, Lorens Chan followed his opening-round 66 with a bogey-free 63 to head into the third round of the HFX Pro-Am presented by Steele Jaguar tied for the lead alongside Stoney Crouch.

Performances like Friday have come to be expected from Chan this season as the UCLA product boasts the second-lowest scoring average on the Mackenzie Tour, at 67.5.

“The last few weeks I’ve been hitting it better. At the beginning of the season, the ball striking was off, but the putting was helping,” said Chan. “It just flipped the last few events, and the putter was a little bit cold, so I took a day off Monday and hit the reset button, and my stroke has felt a lot better since.”

Chan started his rally on hole No. 6. Hitting his approach shot on the par-5 to 10 feet, the 25-year old confidently knocked it in and added another birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at 4-under.

Not satisfied, especially after seeing how low the scores were during the tournament’s first day, with 14 players posting 7-under or better, Chan made five birdies in his final seven holes to turn in the second-lowest round of the day, bested only by Lee Detmer’s 62.

“It’s nice knowing what you have to do,” said the sixth-ranked player on the Order of Merit. “Knowing that every day there are going to be a seven- or 10-under posted, it’s a green light to be aggressive, knowing that there are birdies out there.”

Recording four top-10 finishes this season, Chan heads into the weekend in search of his first-career Mackenzie Tour victory.

“It’s going to take two more days of what I did today and yesterday,” said Chan. “The course isn’t too long; so far the conditions have been perfect. I have to keep going and make as many birdies as I can.”

Meanwhile, Crouch made birdie on his final four holes of the day to follow an opening-round 64 with a 65.

“Those last few holes on the last nine I was seeing the (putting) lines really well and was rolling it really well and got in that zone that’s hard to describe,” said Crouch. “[That feeling] doesn’t stick around long, but hopefully it comes back a little bit over the next two days.”

Taylor Pendrith is the low Canadian heading into the third round, backing up his opening-round 65 with a 66 as he looks to add to his resume following a runner-up finish at last week’s Osprey Valley Open.

Key Information

–      With the seven-birdie, one-eagle performance, Lorens Chan increased his number of rounds played in 66 strokes or better this season to 10, second to only Paul Barjon and Jake Knapp, who’ve each accomplished the feat 11 times. Chan has played in all six previous tournaments this year and has yet to miss a cut. Even more impressive is the fact that of his 26 rounds in 2019, 24 of them have been under-par and 25 have been par or better. Chan shot an even-par 72 in the third round last week and shot a 1-over 71 in the second round of the Bayview Place Open.

–      The second-round leader has gone on to win twice this season. Jake Knapp was tied with Jonathan Garrick at the halfway point of the Golf BC Championship, and Knapp went on to win by one stroke, his first of two 2019 titles. Last week, Paul Barjon and JD Fernandez were deadlocked after 36 holes, with Barjon taking the solo third-round lead and cruising to a three-shot triumph. The win was Barjon’s second of the year.

–      The cut came at 5-under, with 70 players making it to the weekend. The previous-low cut was 3-under at both the Windsor Championship and the Osprey Valley Open.

–      After missing his first cut of the season last week at the Osprey Valley Open, Travis Trace has rebounded nicely in Nova Scotia, with his 67-65 start that has him tied forseventh through 36 holes. Trace has a pair of top-10s this season, a tie for sixth at the Bayview Place Open and a runner-up showing at the Lethbridge Open.

–      Lee Detmer had the low round of the day, shooting a 10-under 62 that puts him at 13-under for the tournament at the halfway point. Even with the 62, Detmer still had two bogeys—at Nos. 5 and 8. He offset those two blemishes with an eagle and 10 birdies—five of the birdies coming in succession to finish his second round.

–      The low first 36-hole score this season came courtesy of Travis Trace. He was 14-under, a 63-65—128, at the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open. Lorens Chan is at 129 through 36 holes this week, but his 15-under total is the lowest score in relation to par in 2019. Paul Barjon and JD Fernandez were both 14-under through 36 holes at the Osprey Valley Open, joining Trace.

–      Dru Love withdrew from the event following the second round due to an upper-body injury.

Quotable

“I had a putt from 15 feet on No. 7, and I was like ‘there’s just no way this doesn’t go in.’ It’s one of those weird feelings which doesn’t come around often, but when it does it’s nice.” – Stoney Crouch. 

“I missed it good off the tee on Thursday. I didn’t necessarily drive it well, but my misses were going in the right places. I drove it better today. It wasn’t necessarily all good, but the misses, again, were where they should be.” – Stoney Crouch

“I played pretty well all day and then got on a heater on the back end. I made a decently long putt on No. 16 but didn’t have to make a lot of putts over five or eight feet, so I struck it well all day and gave myself looks and they all ended up going in.” – Lee Detmer

“I haven’t been putting well in the past, and they started to go in at Osprey Valley (at TPC Toronto) and that’s nice to see it continue here.”– Lee Detmer

“We’re staying on one of the lakes surrounding the golf course, and it’s beautiful. We’re going to have to get out this weekend after play and enjoy the city.” – Lee Detmer

“I think it’s just going to be about going out and making as many birdies as you possibly can. That’s the name of the game for this golf course, but it’s probably going to take something between 24- to 28(-under), maybe even lower than that, so we’ll see. I’m just going to go try to make a bunch of birdies.”– Lee Detmer

“You’re definitely on your own out here, but when you get a couple buddies to room or travel with, it makes it a lot easier. Like today, I got to play with Ian Holt, and that was a blast for me and him, so that makes it easier.” – Lee Detmer

“Abunch of the players know each other from college and we grew up playing against each other in junior golf, so everyone is well known to each other. It’s cool to try to beat each other’s heads in on the course but also have a little bit of fun on the side.”– Lee Detmer

“I tried to play more aggressive. It’s an easy course. I hit driver. I’ve been working on a lot of wedge shots for the last few weeks. I knew I was going to have a lot of those.” – Hayden Shieh

“I think (the course) suits me pretty well. I usually drive it pretty straight. If you hit it in the rough, it’s not that bad. I’ve actually been struggling with the putter. Last week I had some bad three-putts. I worked on things before this tournament. My shoulders were a little bit open. I try to figure it out myself because [my coach] isn’t always going to be there. In last desperation, I’ll have somebody take a picture and I’ll send it to my coach.” – Hayden Shieh 

“I’m just trying to progressively get better. It comes and goes each week. The first two events I missed the cut. The first tournament—in Vancouver—I missed the cut by three. In Victoria, I missed it by one. After that, I made a cut on the number and made one by one.” – Hayden Shieh

“I started out with a birdie, so that was great, and then we hit the stretch where it was into the wind and I didn’t capitalize on the par-5s and didn’t really have anything going and then made birdie on No. 17 and 18, but then I didn’t do anything on the front and just made a bunch of pars.” – Jared Wolfe 

“It’s nice when you’re playing well. You’re feeling like when you have a wedge in your hand you’re going to make a birdie. But I don’t mind being a couple back. Yesterday gave me a great start to the week, and there’s a lot of golf left.” – Jared Wolfe

Second-Round Weather: Sunny. High of 24. Wind 10 KPH.