By Brad Ziemer
Many of the pros competing in the GolfBC Championship will tell you that Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club takes the driver out of their hands on many holes.
Some are only hitting their driver two or three times a round, preferring to play more conservatively from most of the tees. Not Chris Crisologo, the reigning B.C. Amateur Champion from Richmond who is determined to grip it and rip it around the Kelowna course.
“I am hitting quite a few drivers,” Crisologo said after shooting a four-under 67 in the third round of the PGA Tour Canada-Mackenzie Tour event. “I am just trying to get as close to the green as possible and seeing if I can make something out of it. That was my game plan coming into the week, to try and take advantage of my length. The driver is one of the best clubs in my bag and as long as I stay confident with it I am going to hit it as much as I can.”
Crisologo’s round Saturday was bookended by birdies. He began his round with two birdies and finished the same way. He sits tied for 27th at six-under par through 54 holes, seven shots behind leader Lorens Chan.
The 23-year-old Simon Fraser University graduate, who is a member of Canada’s national amateur team, is pleased to see his game trending in a positive direction this week after some recent struggles.
He missed the cut at the Mackenzie Tour’s season-opening Canada Life Open in Vancouver and also missed the cut at the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.
“I had my chances out there today,” he said. “I felt good hitting the ball. I made a couple mistakes hitting tee shots into par 3s, but that’s kind of how the round went. I probably could have taken better advantage of some of my shots into greens. I am looking for a good one again tomorrow.”
A top-20 finish Sunday would get Crisologo an exemption into next week’s event in Lethbridge, Alta., but he doesn’t think he’d play.
“I am trying to take a couple of weeks off before it gets real busy this summer.”
Crisologo is one of four Canadians — all from B.C. — who survived Friday’s cut.
Riley Wheeldon of Comox leads the Canadian contingent. Wheeldon fired his third straight 68 Saturday and is tied for ninth at nine-under par heading into Sunday’s final round. Wheeldon feasted on the three par 5s Saturday, making two birdies and an eagle.
“I made two two-putt birdies and a tap-in eagle and I was four-under there and then I had one bogey,” Wheeldon said. “Other than that it was a whole lot of greens and two putts.”
Wheeldon won a Vancouver Golf Tour event in Whistler last week and feels like his game is in a good spot.
“I am in complete control of my ball out there,” Wheeldon said. “My swing feels good, I have got a good game plan. I just need a couple of putts to fall, probably a lot of putts to fall tomorrow.”
Kelowna’s John Mlikotic shot an even-par 71 Saturday and is tied for 56th at one-under par.
“It was kind of steady,” Mlikotic said of his round. “I just didn’t get much going on the greens. I just kind of hit it to 20 or 25 feet all day. I had a tough time getting some momentum going. The game felt solid and I feel really close to shooting a good number, so I am just trying to stick with it and hopefully put it all together tomorrow.”
Kimberley’s Jared du Toit, who finished inside the top 10 in two previous appearances at the GolfBC Championship, is tied for 63rd at one-over par after shooting a 73 on Saturday.