Friday might have been more of a roller coaster for Jared du Toit, but when the ride was finally over, the 21-year-old native of Kimberley found himself right where he wanted to be — within striking distance of the leaders at the 107th RBC Canadian Open.
Sitting one stroke off the lead after opening day Thursday, du Toit followed up with another electrifying performance on day two, maintaining pace and remaining only one stroke back of Dustin Johnson and Luke List, who hold a share of the tournament lead at 7-under through 36 holes at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont.
After knocking down three birdies and only one bogey on his opening nine, du Toit worked his way into a share of the lead at 7-under for the tournament. Following the turn, the Arizona State star was faced with the first real adversity of his first appearance on the PGA Tour stage.
On the 572-yard, par-five second hole, du Toit sent his tee shot off the left side of the fairway and out of play. After a drop and accompanying penalty stroke, he was behind the eight ball. By the time he walked off the green, he had pencilled a frosty snowman onto his scorecard — a triple bogey — and lost his share of the lead.
Recovering with consecutive pars, du Toit then etched a bogey onto the card on the 433-yard, par-four fifth hole, slipping further down the leaderboard.
A stretch of golf like that is often enough to cripple even the most experienced on tour, but du Toit refused to fold. Instead, he responded by rattling off three consecutive birdies to claw his way back to 6-under and share of third place — one stroke off the lead — after 36 holes of play.
The field was cut down following Friday action, with a number of notable Canadians not advancing through to the weekend. With the cutline established at 2-over, Graham DeLaet (5-over), David Hearn (5-over) and Mike Weir (9-over) all went home early.
Other than du Toit, Canadians making the cut include Corey Conners (2-over), Garrett Rank (even) and Adam Hadwin (2-under).
Defending RBC Canadian Open champion Jason Day fell behind the pack, but stayed ahead of the cut on the second day, firing a 76 to fall to 1-over.
In addition to du Toit and Day on the right side of the cutline is a former Sun Devils’ standout and two-time Ben Hogan Award winner Jon Rahm. A former teammate of du Toit, Rahm — who turned pro following the NCAA season — is also in the hunt, one stroke back at 6-under.
Round three at Glen Abbey gets underway Saturday morning, with Ernie Els and Scott Pinckney set to tee off first at 5:05 a.m. (Mountain). Du Toit is schedule to tee off at 11:15 a.m. (Mountain) alongside Ricky Barnes. Co-leaders Johnson and List will round out the day when they tee off at 11:35 a.m. (Mountain).
The championship round of the RBC Canadian Open will take place Sunday.
The RBC Canadian Open is the third-oldest national golf championship in the world, behind only The Open Championship and U.S. Open.
First played in 1904, the RBC Canadian Open has seen a host of phenomenal names grace its greens, with Jason Day having won the event in 2015. After 18 holes of play Thursday, Day was 3-under and in a share for ninth.
The par-72 Glen Abbey Golf Club stretches 7,253 yards from the championship tees. This year marks the 28th time the elite club has hosted the RBC Canadian Open.
The 2016 RBC Canadian Open features a prize purse of $5.9 million USD, with the winner taking home $1.062 million USD.
Doug Sanders (1956) is the only amateur in history to win the RBC Canadian Championship, claiming the title at Beaconsfield Golf Club in Pointe Claire, Que.
Only four Canadians have ever won the RBC Canadian Open, with Pat Fletcher (1954) being the most recent. Charles Murray (1906 and 1911), Albert Murray (1908 and 1913) and Karl Keffer (1909 and 1914) are the only other Canadians to have won the national title.
The summer of 2016 continues to be one to remember for du Toit, who won the 2016 Glencoe Invitational in Calgary after finishing third at the Monroe Invitational in Pittsford, N.Y.
In his first year of action with the Sun Devil’s NCAA golf program, du Toit secured a top-five finish at the NCAA New Mexico Regional Championship along with four other top-10 finishes throughout the season, helping ASU to its seventh regional title in program history.