July 24, 2016 / 3:02 AM / a year ago

Amateur du Toit has fans singing 'Oh Canada' at national open

Jul 23, 2016; Oakville, Ontario, CAN; Jared du Toit (CAN) hits a shot from the fairway on the sixteenth the hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open golf tournament at Glen Abbey Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

OAKVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - Moments after 21-year-old amateur Jared du Toit drained a dramatic 40-foot eagle putt to close out his third round at the Canadian Open at Saturday, the giant gallery around the 18th green serenaded their countryman with the national anthem.

Du Toit carries the hopes of a nation on his young shoulders, after a two-under 70 to trail American leader Brandt Snedeker by one shot heading into the final round at Glen Abbey. “That was very cool,” said du Toit, when asked about the support from fans.

“All day, they have been unbelievable. Just the atmosphere, the walk to each green, walking to each tee box, ‘go Canada,’ it's been an unbelievable week of golf so far.” The Arizona State University student, who played collegiately with PGA Tour rookie Jon Rahm, is trying to become the first Canadian to win the national open since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

There have been close calls in recent years with Mike Weir losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh in 2004 and David Hearn’s third-place showing last summer. Du Toit will play with Snedeker in the final round on Sunday. “I'm going to be the most hated man in Canada tomorrow, but it's going to be a lot of fun trying to figure it out,” Snedeker said.

“For a 21-year-old kid, to be playing golf here is awesome, let alone to do it in your national open. I can't imagine the nerves this kid has to be playing as great of golf as he has.”

Editing by Andrew Both

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