Graham DeLaet's chipping woes continue his frustration at Glen Abbey

Another day at Glen Abbey, another disappointment for the man who was recently considered Canadian golf's great next hope.

After an error-filled opening-round 77 on Thursday, Graham DeLaet saw his chances of making it to the weekend at the RBC Canadian Open disappear into the winds at the Oakville golf course on Friday. 
He shot an even-par 72, good enough to save some face but nowhere near enough to join the other Canadians pursuing the ghost of Pat Fletcher on the weekend.

DeLaet's failure to make the cut comes on the heels of a second-round withdrawal last year because of a wrist injury and a missed cut in 2013 -- all at Glen Abbey. The last time the Open was played elsewhere, DeLaet finished in a commendable tie for seventh at Royal Montreal in 2014.

"I don't have a very good track record on this golf course and I don't feel super comfortable for whatever reason," said the 34-year-old native of Weyburn, Sask. "I don't know what it is."

Continuing problems with his short game may have something to do with it this time. Thursday was particularly frustrating as he double-bogeyed the par-5 16th. Despite being in a greenside bunker in two shots, DeLaet stickhandled his way to a double-bogey 7.

It was alarmingly reminiscent of the issues that caused him to withdraw from the tour in June, citing a bad case of the chipping yips. Things looked better Friday, but he's obviously not fully recovered from his short-game anxiety issues. DeLaet blamed his problems Thursday on course conditions, though he admitted hitting one chip off the hosel and sending it across the 16th green.

"It's feeling better all the time," he said. "I've still got a little bit of things going on in there, but in practice now, at least I'm hitting all the shots that I was and that I know that I'm capable of.

"So it's kind of slow progression."

Even considering that DeLaet has made big strides since his June breakdown -- he finished in a commendable tie for eighth at the Barbasol Championship last week -- he was less than thrilled with his Open performance.

"Obviously, i just dug myself into way too deep of a hole yesterday," he said. "I felt like I played decent today but it's tough to make a lot of birdies out there. You have to hit in the fairway and if you don't, it's hard to hit greens.

"To get birdie looks, you've got to be on the game. It was just a little bit sloppy."

Despite his woes at Glen Abbey, DeLaet said the pain of his two days here were lessened by thoughts of competing for Canada at the Rio Olympics next month.

"I think it does soften the blow a bit," he said. "But at the same time this is an event I always want to play well. It's disappointing."

It was a day of both elation and disappointment for the rest of the Canadian contingent.

In fact, it was both for  the most improbable of the Canadian entries, 21-year-old amateur Jared du Toit of Kimberley B.C., who sits at 6-under, in a group just one stroke behind co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Luke List.

Du Toit, exhibiting the nerves of a seasoned pro, was tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson and Luke List at 7-under after nine holes on Friday.  But his Cinderella story appeared to find its midnight on the second hole (his 11th of the day) when he triple-bogeyed.

A subsequent bogey on the fifth didn't help matters and it looked like reality had hit the young golfer. But, again showing maturity beyond his years, du Toit registered three straight birdies on 6,7 and 8 to climb back up the ladder.

He will be joined on the weekend by fellow amateur and NHL referee Garrett Rank (1 under) will play Saturday along with Adam Hadwin (2 under) and Corey Connors (2 over.)

The biggest disappointment had to be David Hearn's 5-over performance. The Brantford, Ont., product headed into last year's final round with the lead before finishing third.