HALIFAX, N.S. — Playing his last 42 holes without a bogey at Oakfield Golf & Country Club, Lorens Chan finished Saturday the way he entered it—with a one-stroke lead at the HFX Pro-Am presented by Steele Jaguar.
“I played fine today,” said Chan, who has four top-10 finishes this season in six starts. “I couldn’t really take advantage of the par-5s today, but I saw I was a bit behind mid-round, and I made a few birdies on the back nine to keep myself ahead.”
Chan, who entered the tournament with the second-best scoring average on the Mackenzie Tour, at 67.5, will attempt to fend off a slew of six players within three strokes of his lead, including two-time 2019 winner Jake Knapp and Canadian Taylor Pendrith, fresh off a runner-up finish at the Osprey Valley Open.
“(It’ll take) a lot of birdies, probably,” said the 25-year-old Chan. “It’s a bunched leaderboard, so you can’t afford many mistakes. You have to go out and make as many birdies as you can.
“Dru (Love) proved it Thursday that 59 is almost out there, he shot 60,” Chan added, “so I don’t think people five or six back are out of it, and we might end up chasing.”
Speaking of birdies, only Paul Barjon’s 122 tops Chan’s 112 on the Mackenzie Tour this season; making the UCLA alum’s eight consecutive pars to open the third round surprising.
“There were some birdie opportunities on the front. On No. 1, I hit one bad shot and one bad chip to take myself out of a good birdie chance,” said Chan. “I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in, and on the back I hit a few more that did.”
A win would project Chan, who, in six attempts, hasn’t fired a final round over 68 this season, to move from the sixth spot on the Order of Merit into third.
Folding into a two-way tie for second, one stroke back, are Hayden Shieh and Stoney Crouch, each having their best outings this season, coming into the tournament 87th and 138th, respectively, on the Order of Merit.
Looking for his second consecutive Canada Life Canadian Player of the Week Award, Taylor Pendrith shot a third-round 68 and is two strokes back.
– Due to anticipated bad weather in the afternoon, officials have elected to use a two-tee start, with the players playing in threesomes. The leaders will tee off No. 1 at 9:01 a.m.
– The only wobbles of Hayden Shieh’s third round came at the 14th and 15th holes. His first bogey came at No. 14. That ended a streak of 29 consecutive bogey-free holes. Shieh hit a hybrid off the tee, a drive that trickled into the rough. “I couldn’t tell if it was a flier, and I usually assume it’s going to be a flier out here,” Shieh said of his lie. “I caught it a little heavy and put it in the bunker.” After blasting to six feet, he missed the putt. On his next hole, the par-3 15th, Shieh hit his pitching wedge to 30 feet but three-putted from there for only his third bogey of the week. “I didn’t hit a good first putt, probably to five feet. The ball was kind of sitting in a hole. I marked and fixed it, but as soon as I hit the putt, [the ball] kind of popped up.”
– Blake Sattler just missed tying his career-low Mackenzie Tour 18-hole score with his third-round 64 Saturday. Only his 63 at the 2018 Bayview Place DC Bank Open was better. This is Sattler’s 30th career Mackenzie Tour event, dating to his debut at the 2017 Freedom 55 Financial Open. He enters the final round tied for ninth, five shots behind Lorens Chan.
– It’s been an interesting season for Hawaii’s Alex Chiarella, who missed the first three cuts of the season then won the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open. Following a missed cut in his next start—the Windsor Championship—Chiarella played on the weekend for only the second time when he tied for 49th at the Osprey Valley Open a week ago. In his third made cut of the year, Chiarella has improved his score by one stroke each day after opening with a 70 at Oakfield Golf and Country Club. His 4-under 68 Saturday came courtesy of four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys. Through 54 holes, he is tied for 35th.
– Of the players who made the cut, Blake Sattler’s seven-stroke difference from the second round to the third round ties him with William Register (72-65) and Lee Detmer (69-62) for best round-to-round improvement this week. Derek Chang and Nathan Yankovic both had eight-stroke improvements, but their respective 74-66 showings left them outside the cutline.
– Both Jared Wolfe and Andreas Halvorsen continue to keep their games sharp as they prepare for the restart of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in September. Wolfe, the winner of the Buenaventura Classic in Panama, is second on the Order of Merit, while Halvorsen has parlayed a third-place finish in Argentina and a tie for second at the Mexican Open into an eighth-place position on the Order of Merit. This week, Wolfe is tied for sixth with 18 holes to play. Halvorsen is tied for 35th.
– Since not qualifying for the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Playoffs, Jared Wolfe returned to PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and had four top-10s in his six starts, including a win at the Chile Open. This season, Wolfe added three more top-10s—counting a win—in his seven PGA TOUR Latinoamerica appearances. Now playing on the Mackenzie Tour while his primary tour is on hiatus, Wolfe, who practices out of TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., tied for fifth last week at the Osprey Valley Open to go with his good showing so far this week.
– Prior to this year, Jared Wolfe had played 15 career Mackenzie Tour tournaments, making seven cuts. A tie for 15th at the 2015 Players Cup in Winnipeg was his best finish before his Osprey Valley showing a week ago.
– No player outside his 20s has won on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica this season. The winners have all been between ages 23 and 26. Of the players leading or within five shots of the lead entering Sunday, only Blake Sattler (35) and Jared Wolfe (31) are not in their 20s.
– This is only Anthony Maccaglia’s third start of the season. After Monday-qualifying into the Windsor Championship, he tied for second. In his only other Mackenzie Tour start of 2019—last week at the Osprey Valley Open—the Alpharetta, Ga., native missed the cut. He’s back in contention this week with his 67-69-66 first 54 that leaves him tied for ninth.
– This is the second time this season Lorens Chan has taken a one-shot lead into the final round. He was a stroke ahead of Kyler Dunkle, Jonathan Garrick and Jake Knapp at the Golf BC Championship but dropped into a fourth-place finish despite shooting a final-round, 3-under 71.
– Paul Barjon (Osprey Valley Open) and Alex Chiarella (Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open) are the only two 54-hole leaders this season to turn their leads into wins.
“It’s getting harder and more competitive each year. I think the first year I played there weren’t many 20-unders that were winning and it’s the norm now. Twenty-under isn’t even really winning it. The competition is just tough.” – Lorens Chan
“We had a (UCLA) team dinner last night, with Jake (Knapp) and Jonathan (Garrick), and Jon brought it up that one of us has finished top 10 in every single event. I never would have thought about that; that’s such a Jon thing to think about, but that’s pretty cool and it’s going to be a good day. Hopefully, I can beat Jake. – Lorens Chan
“The pins were a lot harder today, and I took advantage of the birdie holes. I’ve been making a lot of birdies this week and a few times I grinded a par, but it was pretty stress-free on the front nine, and I made some more birdies on the back nine” – Taylor Pendrith
“I’ve kind of struggled a little bit with the driver yesterday, and it was better today. If you can get your driver in play it’s a huge advantage. On some of the par-5s you have to move the ball a certain way, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that. I’d like to hit a few more fairways, but I’m not complaining. I’ve had a lot of short irons into the par-5s.” – Taylor Pendrith
“I’ve been playing really well the last three or four weeks. I’ll be a few (shots) back, but to be chasing down is obviously what you’re looking for, and I’m excited to be in contention again.” – Taylor Pendrith
“The game is OK. I don’t think I’ve played my best; just played solid, and I’ve taken advantage of the par-5s and the shorter par-4s. I’m still making a few silly mistakes, so I’m looking to clean those up [Sunday] and give myself a chance at it.” – Jake Knapp
“I think with split tees and everybody being jammed together you can’t leaderboard watch at all, you just have to put your head down and go to work and make as many birdies as you can because you’re never safe out here.” – Jake Knapp
“I bogeyed No. 18 today, but you won’t see a lot of guys make bogeys late; there aren’t a lot of holes that are difficult down the stretch, so I have to go post 7- or 8-under and see where it puts me.” – Jake Knapp
Third-Round Weather: Sunny. High of 31. Wind 10 KPH.