By Dan Pino
Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:15 pm ·  0 Comments
Dustin Johnson and Luke List battled scorching conditions at Glen Abbey Golf Club to card matching 6-under 66s to take the opening round lead of the RBC Canadian Open.
An eagle on the iconic 18th hole propelled Johnson into a tie for the lead. Johnson added seven birdies on the day, despite the heat and humidity.
“My game feels good. I’ve got a lot of confidence in it. I feel like I’m swinging really well. I felt like I rolled the ball really nicely with the putter today. I’m definitely driving the ball nicely. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the driver. I feel like I can hit it in the fairway, so that’s a big help.”
Johnson, who finished T2 at the 2013 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey, reflected positively on the historic Oakville course.
“I like this golf course. I think it sets up well for me. I like it off the tee. The conditions are really tough right now. The greens are really firm, but they are rolling really nicely. So if you get some good looks at it, you can hold some putts.”
Luke List carded a bogey-free round to earn his share of the lead at the 107th playing of Canada’s National Open Championship. Heading into the RBC Canadian Open, the Jupiter, Fla., resident had missed five of six cuts before registering a T20 result at last week’s Barbasol Championship.
“I think a couple of those missed cuts were pressing too much and just putting too much pressure on myself,” noted List. “I’ve been playing well relatively all year. Missed a lot of cuts by one or two, and sometimes, that’s the way it goes. I’ve been trying to work on my head a little and get a good frame of mind for the end of the year.
The 31-year-old, who started on the back nine, tallied six birdies and was able to take advantage of the historic Oakville course’s four par-5s.
“In the back nine, you have three par-5s, so going in, I knew I would have some scoring opportunities and I was able to do that birdieing three of the par-5s on my first nine. Got off to a great start and hung on at the end and had a couple of good up-and-downs.”
Among the quartet trailing the leaders by one stroke is Canadian Jared du Toit of Calgary. The member of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Squad opened with four birdies across his first six holes to set the tone for his round. A double-bogey on the par-3 7th hole temporarily derailed his day, but the resilient Arizona State University Sun Devil finished eagle-birdie to move to 5-under.
“I think my start surprised me a bit,” said the top-ranked amateur in Canada when asked about his expectations leading into the competition. “There’s definitely birdie holes out there, but I was birdieing a couple holes that are, I think, kind of tougher around here. So yeah, had a really good start. Kind of fought hard all day and finished up with a couple nice ones.”
The experience of playing in his first RBC Canadian Open is not lost on the No. 60-ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to sign autographs after rounds. That was awesome, definitely a lot of fun. [This experience] is definitely in the top-three kind of rounds I’ve played my career, just kind of feeling-wise and atmosphere.”
The 21-year-old du Toit is tied at 5-under 67 alongside former World No. 1 amateur Jon Rahm and Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., and Dallas’s Kelly Kraft. Brandt Snedeker, who claimed victory in the 2013 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey, is part of a four-way tie for 7th. Defending champion Jason Day, who collected an eagle and four birdies, is part of a 10-way tie for 11th, which also includes amateur Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont.
CANADIANS AT THE 2016 RBC CANADIAN OPEN
T3 – Jared du Toit (a) – Calgary – 67, -5
T11 – Garrett Rank (a) – Elmira, Ont. – 69, -3
T41 – Adam Hadwin – Abbotsford, B.C. – 72, E
T83 – David Hearn – Brantford, Ont. – 74, 2
T97 – Nick Taylor – Abbotsford, B.C. – 75, 3
T97 – Corey Conners – Listowel, Ont. – 75, 3
T97 – Adam Cornelson – Langley, B.C. – 75, 3
T128 – Blair Hamilton (a) – Burlington, Ont. – 77, 5
T128 – Graham DeLaet – Weyburn, Sask. – 77, 5
T128 – Brad Fritsch – Manotick, Ont. – 77, 5
T139 – Mike Weir – Brights Grove, Ont. – 78, 6
T139 – Branson Ferrier – Barrie, Ont. – 78, 6
T152 – Hugo Bernard (a) – Mont-St-Hilaire, Que. – 81, 9
154 – Dave Levesque – Montréal – 85, 13