124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

RBC Canadian Open turns to amateur to end long quest for Canadian winner

July 24, 2016

Is it too much to ask that a Canadian, any Canadian, this Canadian in particular, wins the RBC Canadian Open to become the first countryman to do so since 1954?

This Canadian is Jared du Toit, a British Columbia native. He is only 21, an amateur, 60th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, a senior-to-be at Arizona State.

Du Toit begins the final round only a stroke behind and playing in the final pairing with the leader, Brandt Snedeker.


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Is it too much to ask? If history is our guide…

Du Toit is the latest iteration of what might be known as the big tease, a Canadian in a position to win — a periodic, if not annual, occurrence that ends in disappointment.

Their ilk, meanwhile, has been a boon to the memory of an otherwise obscure player, Pat Fletcher, the last Canadian to win his national championship. Among those responsible for keeping his memory alive:

— David Hearn. Last year, he took a two-stroke lead into the final round and was serenaded with a chorus of “O Canada” on the first tee. Hearn shot 72 to Jason Day’s 68 and lost by two.

— Graham DeLaet was in third, two shots off the lead in 2014, but finished tied for seventh.

— Adam Hadwin, in only his third PGA Tour start, was in second place entering the final round in 2011, finished tied for fourth, two shots in arrears.

— Mike Weir, only a season removed from winning the Masters, took a two-stroke lead over Vijay Singh into the back nine on Sunday in 2004 only to stumble and eventually lose on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Yes, history informs us that it’s probably too much to ask, particularly of a college kid. But there’s this, from his former college coach, Tim Mickelson:

The last amateur to win a PGA Tour event, incidentally, was Mickelson’s brother Phil, in 1991.

So, Canadians ask in unison, ever hopeful, there’s a chance?