Kimberley native Jared du Toit

Du Toit to join nation’s best at RBC Canadian Open

Kimberley native Jared du Toit in hunt at Trans-Miss Championship, set to swing at prestigious PGA Tour event next week

Life is pretty peachy for Jared du Toit right now.

After receiving official confirmation on Tuesday that he was headed to the prestigious RBC Canadian Open on a tournament exemption, the 21-year-old Kimberley amateur golf sensation celebrated on Wednesday by firing a jaw-dropping seven-under-par 63 during the second round of play at the 113th Trans-Miss Championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The big day in California took du Toit to eight under, giving him sole possession of second place through 36 holes of play at the 7,016-yard, par-70 track with 36 holes to go.

While the Arizona State Sun Devils’ star is focused on hunting down a title at The Olympic Club — a course he states is one of his favourites — he can’t help but eagerly anticipate next week’s RBC Canadian Open (July 18 to 24) at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont.

“When I heard that, I was very excited to say the least,” du Toit said Wednesday over the phone from San Francisco following his lights-out performance at The Olympic Club. “I just thought back to my junior golf days and all that. It kind of put everything in perspective. It’s pretty cool I get to play with the big boys now. It’s going to be fun.

“I don’t want to worry… If I just play solid Jared golf, I think it should take care of itself. It is going to be a very unique experience and my first PGA Tour event, so I’m just excited to see how I level out with the big boys.

“I’m sure the first time I see a guy like Jason Day warming up on the range beside me, it will kind of hit me a little more. But I’m just going to try to keep it feeling like a regular event, go out there, have fun and play some golf.”

The RBC Canadian Open is a PGA Tour event and the third-oldest national golf championship in the world, behind only The Open Championship and U.S. Open.

First played in 1904, it has seen a host of phenomenal names grace its greens, with Day having won the event in 2015 and others such as Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson previously collecting titles as well.

It’s a big stage for a kid from a small town in the East Kootenay, but du Toit isn’t letting any of that faze him as he continues his sky-high trajectory towards world golf stardom.

“The thing with golf is you can over prepare yourself,” du Toit said. “I found that out this year. I don’t really want to hype it up too much. I just want to go out and focus on playing my game, having fun and if I can do that, then I think I can look after my own scores, hopefully they take care of themselves and I get four rounds out there.”

Golf Canada announced du Toit’s exemption into the annual event via press release Tuesday afternoon, making him one of 12 Canadian golfers currently lined up to participate.

“We are excited to have these 12 deserving Canadians compete in the 107th playing of Canada’s National Men’s Open Championship,” said Brent McLaughlin, tournament director of the RBC Canadian Open, in a Golf Canada news release. “The passion that these talented players have shown in representing Canada is a true inspiration to the country’s young golfers and we are proud to welcome them to the field for the RBC Canadian Open.”

Amongst the collection of Canucks, notable names include top-ranked professionals David Hearn (75th in FedEx Cup standings; 127th in World Golf Rankings), Graham DeLaet (105th in FedEx Cup; 146th in WGR) and Adam Hadwin (89th in FedEx Cup; 182nd in WGR).

Mike Weir — the 2003 Masters champion and eight-time PGA Tour winner — will also be competing in his 25th RBC Canadian Open.

du Toit, who is a member of the Canadian National Amateur Squad, will be joined at the prestigious event by two of his teammates — Hugo Bernard of Mont St-Hilaire, Que., and Blair Hamilton of Burlington, Ont.

Outside of a long list of accomplished Canadian golfers, the field will also include Day — defending champion and the world’s top-ranked golfer — as well as PGA pros Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, just to name a few.

To top it off, one of du Toit’s old Sun Devils’ teammates will head north of the border. Jon Rahm — who recently turned pro after a long run as the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer — will also take part.

This will be du Toit’s second professional event of the summer. In June, he was granted a sponsor’s exemption into the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open — a PGA Tour Canada event — where he missed the cut by one stroke, finishing two-under par after two rounds of play.

“It was a really cool experience,” du Toit said. “Getting your first pro event is obviously a pretty important time in your golf career. It was definitely exciting for me.

“From a personal learning standpoint — I didn’t play my best in Saskatchewan. To not play my best and still only miss the cut by one [stroke] was kind of nice to see because I know if I do play my best I can compete out there.

“From a preparation standpoint, I’ll be more comfortable… Preparing for pro events is a lot different.”

For now, preparation for the RBC Canadian Open is on relative hold as du Toit has his eyes locked in with proceedings still on-going at the 113th Trans-Miss Championship, intent on chasing down Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, who sits in first at nine-under par.

Both the third and fourth rounds of play at the Trans-Miss Championship are set to be played Thursday.

Du Toit is off to a fantastic start this summer, having won the 2016 Glencoe Invitational in Calgary, which followed hot on the heels of a third-place finish at the Monroe Invitational in Pittsford, N.Y.

The 2016 edition of the RBC Canadian Open is the 107th in tournament history. The last time a Canadian won the national championship was in 1954 when Pat Fletcher claimed the crown.