Adam Hadwin has first-hand experience about what it’s like for a Canadian to contend in his national open, so he can relate to the situation Jared du Toit finds himself in going into the weekend at the RBC Canadian Open.
The amateur from Calgary shot a one-under 71 on Friday that left him in a group of three who are at six under, one shot behind co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Luke List.
Back in 2011, Hadwin had the nation’s attention before tying for fourth at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. From that special moment that so few Canadians experience, he can relate.
“There’s really a kind of go-get-it type of attitude. He doesn’t have a card on the line. He’s not trying to keep a job, but he’s still nervous. It’s still nerve-wracking,” said Hadwin, of the lack of a Canadian winner since 1954.
“I’d really love to be the Canadian that ends that drought, but any Canadian ending it would be great,” he added.
Not many of the fans at Glen Abbey knew who du Toit was coming into the Open on Thursday, but he’s certainly captured their attention since firing a six-under 66 in the first round on Thursday.
Before teeing off on Friday, he emphasized his nationality by starting the day at Tim Hortons, but stuck with tea instead of coffee. He certainly didn’t appear shaky from the get-go.
On Friday in difficult conditions, du Toit made the turn at two under, but seemingly had the wind knocked out of him when he triple bogeyed the second hole, his 11th. That was magnified with a bogey three holes later that left him at two over on the day.
Expecting a 21-year old to collapse in that situation? He responded with three consecutive birdies before finishing with a par.
“Yeah, taking an eight always hurts, but I just kind of stayed patient. The putter heated up at the right time,” said du Toit.
“I’ve got to thank my caddie (Sean Burke) because I was pretty down. I was pretty mad about the way things panned out, but he kind of told me, `Just keep going and get back to the game plan,’ and it worked out,” he added,’’
Hadwin and du Toit are half of the four Canadians who will play the weekend at Glen Abbey.
Hadwin had a three-under front nine, before a double bogey on 12 knocked him back. He finished birdie-bogey-birdie for a 70 to go into the weekend at two under, five shots off the lead.
“It was much better than (Thursday). I hit it more solid. A little scrambly though, despite hitting it more solid. I kind of over-shot some greens. The short game is really good, chipped in once. I got up and down pretty much every other time except for 12 there,” he said.
Hadwin is tied for 21st, with another Canadian amateur, Garrett Rank, tied for 36th at even par. Rank shot a three over 75 on Friday.
A double bogey in his final hole of the day left Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., on the bubble for the rest of the day after he finished the day with a 71, but made it on the number at two over.
“I got off to a nice start, gave myself lots of birdie chances. That was kind of the goal of the day, just get in position off the tee and give myself a chance to hit the greens,” said Conners.
“The course is really firm obviously and played tricky if you were out of position off the tee,” he added.
“I kind of had a couple of nice up and downs on the second nine. I played to save par, which felt good. A bit of a hiccup at the end, got a bit of a flyer out of the rough coming into the final hole. I went a bit long, but it was a fun day and pretty happy with how I played,” said Conners.
Graham DeLaet, who had to withdraw last year due to a thumb injury, shot an even par 72 on Friday, but missed the cut after opening with a 77.
“Obviously, I just dug myself in way too deep of a hole (Thursday). I felt like I played decent (Friday), but it’s tough to make a lot of birdies out there. You have to hit in the fairway and if you don’t, it’s hard just to hit greens. To get birdie looks, you’ve got to be on your game,” said DeLaet.
“I wish I could have played well. I don’t have a very good track record on this golf course and I don’t feel super comfortable, for whatever reason,” he added.
DeLaet, Nick Taylor, Adam Cornelson, amateur Blair Hamilton, David Hearn, Brad Fritsch, Branson Ferrier, Mike Weir, amateur Hugo Bernard and Dave Levesque missed the cut.
The leaderboard is here.