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Chan wins, leads 'Iolani to title


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POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2009

KAANAPALI, Maui » Though Lorens Chan is just freshman, experience proved to be his most precious resource yesterday.

Chan saw his two-stroke lead of the David S. Ishii/HHSAA State Boys Golf Championship evaporate with a string of three bogeys to close the front nine.

Rather than wilt under the afternoon heat at the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, Chan drew on his past to charge back in front and remained steady while other contenders faltered. He captured the individual crown while leading 'Iolani to its first team championship since 1991.

“;I just had to remind myself I've been in this situation before and I know what to do to,”; Chan said. “;You just have to dig deep in yourself and bring out the best.”;

Chan's round of 3-over-par 74 left him with a two-day total of 143. It was just enough to hold off teammate David Fink, one of just two golfers to shoot par yesterday. Fink was 3-under on the front nine, but scuffled through three straight bogeys on Nos. 15-17 and finished two strokes behind Chan at 145.

Led by the 1-2 finish, 'Iolani finished with a total of 601, pulling away from runner-up Moanalua (619).

“;That was our No. 1 goal,”; 'Iolani coach Glenn Inouye said. “;People who say high school golf is not a team sport, they've never played high school golf. In the last two weeks it seems like the team has come together really strong and really fed off each other.”;

Fink couldn't stick around for the awards ceremony, hustling off to Kapalua Airport to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight back to Honolulu so he could join the Raiders volleyball team for its state tournament match last night.

“;I'm really glad it ended the way it did,”; Fink said before departing. “;I had a humbling experience ... but when your team comes out as the victor in the end, that's the main thing.”;

Although the state tournament capped Chan's first season of high school golf, he's hardly a new face on the scene.

Chan, who turns 15 next week, has been ranked among the state's top junior golfers, played in the Sony Open in Hawaii in January and won the state amateur stroke-play championship in March. Next month, he'll tee it up in the Manoa Cup, where he's already established himself as an annual contender for the state match-play title.

He played one season of intermediate golf as a seventh grader at 'Iolani, but scheduling conflicts kept him off the team last year. When he moved up to high school this year, his teammates convinced him to return to play for the school.

“;You just have to do your part,”; Chan said. “;It's not just about you. It's about the team.”;

After shooting a 69 on Tuesday, Chan played even-par through the first six holes, then stumbled to bogeys on Nos. 7-9. In the meantime, Kamehameha-Maui freshman Aaron Kunitomo caught Chan on No. 8 and moved ahead on the ninth when he birdied and Chan bogeyed.

But Chan rolled in tricky birdie putts on Nos. 11 and 12 to move to 1 under for the tournament and reclaim a share of the lead. Kunitomo then bogeyed No. 13 and a three-putt from inside of 5 feet on the 14th green left him with a costly double bogey.

“;I saw Lorens make his putt and I had a downhill slider and I tried to make it, but hit it too hard, missed the next putt so that threw me off,”; Kunitomo said.

Kunitomo, Punahou's Bradley Shigezawa and Kauai's Cory Oride couldn't muster another run at Chan down the stretch, and a bogey-bogey finish was enough for Chan to add the state title to an already impressive resume.

“;People told me a freshman's never won. To be the first one it's a great feeling,' Chan said. “;This course is a really tough course, one of the toughest in Hawaii. To win this one, it's one of (his top accomplishments).

“;It feels really good.”;