Though he wasn’t expecting it, Kimberley native Jared du Toit is teeing off on Thursday morning at the RBC Canadian Open, getting into the historic golf tournament on a sponsor’s exemption less than a week before it began.
The Canadian Open is the third oldest continuously-running golf championship in the world, starting in 1904 and only missing years due to World War 1, World War II and being cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time it’s been held since Rory McIlroy won in 2019.
“I’m super excited, I really didn’t expect to get into this week,” du Toit told the Bulletin. “I was signed up for the Monday qualifier but ended up getting a sponsor’s exemption on Friday and that made my scheduling a little easier, because I was able to play in my US Open qualifier on that same Monday and I ended up as an alternate, so I’m hoping to get in that as well, but nobody knows; fingers crossed I guess.”
While he’s obviously excited at the possibility of playing the US Open next week, he is currently focused on his game and the week of golf ahead.
The first time at this course for him, du Toit got his first 18 holes in on Tuesday at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, the site of this year’s Canadian Open, and was just coming off the course after walking a few holes on Wednesday when he spoke to the Bulletin.
“The golf course is probably one of the best I’ve ever played, it’s probably one of, if not the best in Canada,” he said.
“It’s very demanding in basically everything. A lot of people that watch golf know that the US Open is when conditions get the toughest and the golf courses are really hard and this golf course is Canada’s version of that a little bit. It’s pretty hard in my opinion and it’s going to take some good golf for whoever wins this week.”
He explained that the brutal rough lining the fairways is one of the biggest things he observed in his practice rounds.
“I think generally the PGA Tour, guys that play week to week they don’t really see thick rough very often but a lot of the people are using the Canadian Open as a prep for the US Open next week and so I think conditions and maintenance wise they really try and help guys kinda get there. Ever since they moved the Canadian Open to the week before the US Open I think that’s what they try and do and they’ve definitely done that so far.”
du Toit said that following the Monday US Open qualifier he feels like his game is trending in the right direction. He’s now put in some good work for the week ahead and hopes he can simply string together some good holes.
And while he may not have played this golf course before, he’s had some good experience at the Canadian Open in the past. In 2016, while still playing as an amateur, du Toit gave a stunning performance at the Canadian Open in Oakville, Ont.
“I missed the cut in a Canadian Tour event in Saskatchewan a couple weeks before, but I got into that event and ended up kind of catching lightning in a bottle and played real solid and everything went well for me that week,” he recalled.
That lightning in the bottle featured a dramatic 40-foot putt eagle on the par-5 18th hole to shoot a third round score of 70, putting him in second place and allowing him to play in the final pairing alongside Brandt Snedeker.
du Toit went on to finish in a tie for ninth place with Matt Kuchar and was the low amateur for the event, earning himself a spot in the following year’s Canadian Open.
“It definitely proved to myself that I can do it and hopefully I can lean back on some of those experiences this week and get up there and have a nice finish,” du Toit said.
“It’s super cliche but I just want to take it one shot at a time, I’ve played a decent amount of PGA tournaments now and I’ve played with a ton of good players and I know my good stuff can compete with them. I’m just excited to get in there, try and make the lowest score on every hole I can and have a good finish and hopefully at the end of the week it adds up to a nice result.”
Following the Canadian Open, du Toit will either head to Boston to get in some practice rounds at Brookline, the site of the US Open and one of the most historic golf courses in the world, or head to Edmonton for the Canadian Tour event there.
After that, depending on the next few weeks go he will spend the rest of the year on the Canadian Tour, but if he can parlay a few good finishes together, he may try for something more.