By Brad Ziemer, Event Journalist
KELOWNA — One is No. 2, the other is No. 3 and they both want to be No. 1.
More than just the GolfBC Championship will be on the line in Saturday’s final round at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club. The winner could take a stranglehold on the Mackenzie Tour’s points list and the coveted full exemption in 2022 that comes with finishing first.
Duncan’s Callum Davison, who currently sits third on the points list, will take a one-shot lead into the final round. Nipping at his heels is Brendan Leonard of Cambridge, Ont.
If either one of them win on Saturday, they will vault to the top of the points list with just one event remaining on the Mackenzie Tour schedule.
It is definitely on both of their minds.
“It is a weird situation,” Davison said. “I can’t go out there and just play him. You are going out to win the tournament and you have to play as well as you can. . .but I feel like this decides the No. 1 spot.”
Leonard knows what will be on the line Saturday going head to head against Davison. He also knows that he can’t just focus on one player.
“It is going to be a good battle and I am just going to try and push him as hard as I can and make as many birdies to try and get ahead of him,” Leonard said.
Both players have a win this season. Leonard won the season-opening Mackenzie Investments Open, while Davison won the Brudenell River Classic in Prince Edward Island.
Leonard came from behind to get his win and said he enjoys trying to chase down the leader.
“I do love being that spot,” he said. “I love trying to come from behind and make as many birdies as I can and put some pressure on the guys in front of me.”
Davison fired a three-under 68 Friday to move to 11-under par for the tournament. He felt his round could have been so much better had his putter not gone ice cold on the back nine.
“I bogeyed the first hole, but after that I had a good start,” the 21-year-old said. “I made four birdies on the front nine. The back nine I hit it just as good, actually probably better, but I just couldn’t make anything. I had like five putts inside 10 feet that I missed. If I can just make a couple tomorrow hopefully I will have a good result.”
Leonard shot a two-under 69 Friday to move to 10-under.
“It was a pretty good day,” he said. “I just had three kind of sloppy bogeys. On No. 10, I didn’t get rewarded for what was a good drive, but the other two were bad swings. But other than that it was a pretty solid day. I didn’t do anything too great, but kept it steady out there.”
It would be a mistake to call this a two-horse race. Several other players are in the mix, including Delta resident Yi Cao who had a spectacular finish to his round. Cao holed his 58-degree wedge from 96 yards for eagle on the par 4 18th hole.
“I was trying to use the back slope a little to bring the ball back and I pulled it off,” Cao said. “That was something special.”
That eagle salvaged a one-under 70 for Cao and moved him to nine-under for the tournament. He shares third place with Australian transplant Will Barnett and Zach Olson of Abbotsford.
Olson played his collegiate golf at the University of the Fraser Valley and graduated two years ago. He works as a teaching pro at Chilliwack Golf Club and plays as much tournament golf as he can.
He made his Mackenzie Tour debut last week in Calgary, where he made the cut and finished tied for 48th. This week, he has a chance to do much better than that after following up his 66 on Thursday with a 65 on Friday.
“My putting the last two days has really turned things around a bit,” Olson said. “I made a lot of putts from eight feet and in and that always helps.”
Three players are tied for sixth spot at seven-under par, including Ilirian Zalli of Vancouver. The 19-year-old is a former B.C. Junior Boys Champion who turned pro earlier this year.
The final group of Davison, Leonard and Olson tee off at 11 a.m. The first groups of the day are off at 9:10 a.m. Admission is free and proof of vaccination is required.