Canadians will have their television sets fixed firmly on the final round of the Canadian Open come Sunday, ready to firmly affix a national hero crown on young Jared du Toit if he can do the unthinkable.
du Toit is one stroke back of PGA veteran Brandt Snedeker heading into the final round of the Open. If he could rally for the win, he’d be the first Canadian in 62 years to win the national tournament, the first Canadian-born player to do it in 102 years.
du Toit is a native of Kimberley, British Columbia, and played his junior year of college at Arizona State University, the squad that produced Phil Mickelson once upon a time. He concluded his junior year with a win at the Glencoe Invitational, finishing with a 2-over 218. He was an Honorable Mention All-American in 2015-2016 with five top-10 finishes.
Prior to attending Arizona State, the 21-year-old du Toit went to Idaho University, a bit closer to home. As a sophomore in 2014-2015, he had three first-place finishes, including at the Big Sky Conference Championship.
The only time an amateur won the Canadian Open was American Doug Sanders, who did it in 1956 at age 22. He went on to win 20 PGA titles and finish second at four Majors.
Of course the last man to win a PGA Tournament as an amateur was Mickleson, who did so at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. Only four men have won a tournament as an amateur.