What if they held a State Amateur and a state high school golf championship broke out?
Lorens Chan, who won both titles two years ago, roared to another Hawaii State Amateur Stroke Play Championship yesterday at Pearl Country Club. The ‘Iolani junior closed with his highest round of the week by five shots — 2-over-par 74 — and won by eight.
He left a trail of high school buddies in his wake, along with a Hawaii Golf Hall of Famer. Brandan Kop, who turned 50 in December, was the only one to break par in ideal final-day conditions. His 70 left him at 1-under 287, tied with Moanalua High School’s Seungjae Maeng (72). Punahou sophomore Kalena Preus was second alone at 73–286.
The combined ages of Chan, Preus and Maeng don’t add up to 50. Adding to the youthful fire, Chan calls Kop "a legend," and high school freshmen John Oda (77–289) and Donny Hopoi (74–291) were fifth and sixth.
"Not to be like mean or anything," Chan said, "but a good number of them out there were juniors. They’re getting pretty good, pretty competitive. We’re all good friends and a lot of them on the leaderboard practice at Pearl."
Chan shot 68-67-69 the first three days. At 12 under after three rounds, he was one off the late Chris Santangelo’s tournament record, shot at Waialae Country Club in 1983. This event started in 1928.
Two years ago, Chan set the tournament standard at Pearl, finishing a rain-shortened 54 holes in 10 under. He was 14, and won by eight. That is the lead he took into yesterday’s long final round — the last group finished at 6:30 p.m. When he made his first bogey of the day — and sixth of the tournament — on the ninth hole his lead was nine.
His shot at Santangelo’s record faded when he yanked his drive into the trees at the 11th and couldn’t find his ball. He took double bogey, but nearly neutralized that on the next hole when his eagle pitch hit the stick. It stayed out, but he had kick-in birdies on that hole and the back nine’s other par-5 (17) to cruise home.
"I was trying to shoot in the 60s, but I didn’t reach that goal," Chan said. "After the lost ball I just wanted to make sure I could get in double digits under par. I guess I reached that."
Preus came the closest to catching him, despite catching a cold on the driving range yesterday morning, and playing in his first State Amateur. He was nine back going into the final round.
"Lorens’ whole game, his demeanor, is so consistent, especially on this course," Preus said. "He hits almost every fairway. His iron game is probably the best I’ve ever seen of any junior and, on top of that, his putting is incredible."
That pretty much covers it. Chan struggled last summer, found his way in the fall, then faltered at last month’s Pearl Open. Since then he has been to "The Oven" — Nike’s research and development facility in Fort Worth, Texas — to get every club but his wedges replaced. The custom fit apparently felt good.
"I guess the first three days it was working … ," Chan grinned. "I put them in the bag quickly. They work."
The two females in the field made the cut. Punahou seventh-grader Allisen Corpuz finished 24th at 74–309 and University High senior Alice Kim, headed for Gonzaga in the fall, tied for 39th at 80–322.