2013 RBC Canadian Open Champion Brandt Snedeker (68-73-66 (-9)) may be leading this year’s championship with one round to play but there is no doubt who all the eyes of Canada will be on for the event’s final stanza.
Snedeker was brilliant on Saturday, posting a 6 under par round of 66 in intense heat and tricky winds. He capped it with eagle on the closing hole. That feat was also completed by one of his nearest pursuers, and the focus of the Canadian attention, Jared du Toit.
du Toit, just 21, thrilled the hardy crowds at Glen Abbey with a lengthy eagle on the 18th hole to complete play at -8 (67-71-70). The dramatic finish earned the Golf Canada National Team member a rousing edition of “O Canada” from the spectators, as well as a place in the final pairing on Sunday. He co-holds second place with U.S. Open Champion Dustin Johnson.
Said du Toit of the crowd support and the day in whole, “Unbelievable, can’t say anything else but that word. It’s truly been a dream so far and seeing that putt go in was just a great cherry on top to the round.”
This will be the second year in a row that a Canadian plays in the final group at the RBC Canadian Open. Unlike David Hearn last year, a pro event at this level is new territory for the Arizona State University senior. That leaves him wondering how the day will play out on Sunday,
“I have no idea,” du Toit responded when asked about his ability to maintain patience and perspective tomorrow. “I’ve never been there, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never kind of been in this kind of pressure, this atmosphere before. I’m here having fun and trying to go and play golf. It hasn’t set in so far, but loving every minute of it.”
The Kimberly, B.C. native will have a favourable final pairing in the form of Snedeker, one of the nicest guys on the tour and keenly aware of the pressure that will be on the amateur.
“I think I’m going to be the most hated man in Canada tomorrow, but it’s going to be a lot of fun trying to figure it out. He’s great. For a 21-year-old kid to be playing golf here is awesome, let alone to do it in your National Open. I mean, I can’t imagine the nerves this kid has to be playing as great of golf as he has.
“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m looking forward to playing with him and I’m going to do everything I can to help him have a great day tomorrow. I want him to have a great experience tomorrow and really enjoy it.”
Even though he will be looking out for du Toit, Snedeker is staying focussed and feels at home here.
“I’ve been in this situation before here, winning three years before here and so I’m excited to be back,” he said. “This is as close to home – kind of a home away from here. My caddie is from here (Scott Vail is from Oshawa) and RBC has been one of my sponsors for a long time. I feel like I’ve got some friends and family rooting me on tomorrow.”
Both players will need to look for Johnson who says he is playing well, swinging well, and is full of confidence.
The ingredients are all there for one of the most epic final rounds in RBC Canadian Open history.
Thee other Canadians will be playing on Sunday.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is T44 at even-par following a 2-over performance. Amateur Garrett Rank from Elmira, Ont., is tied for 71st, while fellow Ontarian Corey Conners of Listowel is 78th.
Tee times for the final round can be found here.
CANADIANS AT THE 2016 RBC CANADIAN OPEN
- T2 – Jared du Toit (a) – Calgary – 67-71-70, -8
- T44 – Adam Hadwin – Abbotsford, B.C. – 72-70-74, E
- T71 – Garrett Rank (a) – Elmira, Ont. – 69-75-76, 4
- 78 – Corey Conners – Listowel, Ont. – 75-71-76, 6