Since the time he first picked up a club, Lorens Chan has been playing golf alongside Uncle Caleb. The longtime family friend has been with Chan every step of the way in a burgeoning career that has ultimately led him to the professional level.
But in a way, it’s Chan who actually owes his career to Uncle Caleb. After all, he helped pave his path to Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada with a sponsor exemption into the $200,000 GolfBC Championship in both 2016 and 2017, his first two years as a pro. Uncle Caleb is actually Caleb Chan—no relation—whose golf operations are grouped together under GolfBC Group.
“He has been a close friend of my dad’s for a long time,” Lorens Chan said Saturday at Gallagher’s Canyon. “He helped jumpstart my career basically. I missed the cut the first year, but took advantage the second year and was able to get some status. It’s why I’m here today.
“This tournament has a bit more of a personal meaning for me.”
Chan is hoping to pay it forward this year, where he leads by one stroke after 54 holes at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club. He shot a third-round 67 Saturday to move to 13-under 200, one shot clear of Kyler Dunkle and former UCLA teammates Jonathan Garrick and Jake Knapp.
“It’s been nice to have his support over the years,” Lorens Chan said. “(Caleb) actually sent me a video message yesterday telling me to keep it up. It would be nice to win. We’ll see how the leaderboard stacks up. I’ll try and play well and see how it goes.”
After opening with a bogey, Chan carded birdies at Nos. 2 and 9 while also rolling in an eagle from the fringe at the par-5 sixth. He was even-par on the back until connecting on a 20-foot birdie at No. 17, which gave him the solo lead. He nearly pushed his advantage to two at the last only to see his long birdie putt lip out.
Chan’s day was enough to surge ahead of Knapp and Garrick, as the second-round leaders both posted a 1-under 70. Dunkle, playing in his second professional event, joins them in a tie for second after shooting 66 with a pair of eagles.
“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well the last two days just trying to make some more putts, and the putter didn’t let me down on the front nine,” Dunkle said. “I made a lot of putts and it started to cool down on the back nine, I made some hiccups coming in. But the front nine got me started off to a good day and I tried to ride it out from there.”
Riley Wheeldon is top Canadian and within striking distance of the leaders at 9-under.
He shot his third successive 3-under 68 on Saturday thanks to an eagle on the par-5 12th.
The Richmond, B.C., native reached the green in two, and then drained the eagle putt.
The eagle made up for a bogey on No. 7 where he went from rough, to rough, to bunker, but holed the bogey putt.
Kelowna’s John Mlikotic, whose home course is Gallagher’s Canyon, didn’t do himself any harm with an even-par 71 to remain at 1-under for the tournament.
He bogeyed Nos. 4 and 8 but birdied holes 5 and 12.
The championship is to be decided today.