A Canadian has not won its national championship since Pat Fletcher was victorious in 1954. Amateur Jared du Toit, playing in his first ever PGA Tour event, could be in position to end the 62-year drought at the Canadian Open.
With an eagle-birdie finish, the 21-year old du Toit is at 5-under and just one stroke back of the lead, currently held by Americans Dustin Johnson and Luke List, who are tied at 6-under.
Fellow Canadian amateur Garret Rank, who doubles as a professional NHL referee, played in the same group as du Toit, and also rode a blistering finish (-4 over his last 4 holes) to a great score (a 3-under 69). The two canucks gave the convivial, heavily-Canadian crowd a lot to cheer for.
1. Luke List, Dustin Johnson -6 (66)
T3. Chesson Hadley, Kelly Kraft, Jared du Toit, Jon Rahm -5 (67)
T7. Brandt Snedeker, Brendon de Jonge, Cameron Tringale, Steve Wheatcroft -4 (68)
T11 -3 Jason Day, Matt Kuchar
T20 -2 Jim Furyk
T21 -2 Jimmy Walker, Ernie Els
T55 +1 Emiliano Grillo
T85 +2 Tony Finau,
T97 +3 Graeme McDowell
T116 +4 Matthew Fitzpatrick
T127 +5 Graham DeLaet
About the Leaders
Luke List put himself in the lead by playing Glen Abbey’s four par-5s in 4-under. He shot 32 on his inward nine, and was bogey free. List, the 31-year-old Seattle native, is currently on the FedEx Cup bubble at 115th place, but stands to skyrocket up the standings if he is able to keep this pace. List has made just 10 cuts in 22 events on tour this season, with his best finish being a T6 at the CareerBuilder Challenge. He had his Tour card in 2013, but after a disappointing season, he needed to spend the last two years on the Web.com Tour.
Dustin Johnson, on the other hand, will never have to worry about qualifying for a tournament again. He leads the FedEx Cup standings, is ranked #2 in the world, and won both the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his last three starts. DJ couldn’t miss off-the-tee, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. An eagle on 18 vaulted him to the lead.
Better Than Expected
Jared du Toit (-5), Garrett Rank (-3), Ken Duke (-3) – Outlined above, the two Canadian amateurs are the talk of the early going in Oakville. Du Toit is a senior at Arizona State, a program that has produced some amazing golfers, such as Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Pat Perez, and Jon Rahm. Duke, the 47-year-old from Arkansas, pared 10 in a row after a few early birdies to post a strong round. Duke is having a tough season, outside of his T3 at The Players Championship in May, and will need a few good finishes if he wants to keep his card for next season.
We Expected Better
David Hearn +2, Graham DeLaet +4 – While the two Canadian amateurs were the story of the day, the two Canadians who were expected to contend, Hearn and DeLaet, were both disappointments. Hearn was last year’s 54-hole leader, but could not get anything going today, hitting just 5 of 14 fairways. DeLaet had an abysmal closing stretch of holes, including a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 16th, a stretch that most of the field feasted on. Both will need to be much better tomorrow to make the cut.
“It was a great way to finish; it made lunch taste really good. Good finish for me at -4 on the last four, I’ll definitely take it.” – Amateur Garrett Rank on his eagle chip-in on 18.