TORONTO — Vancouver's Stuart Macdonald got goosebumps as he approached the Rink, the signature hole of the RBC Canadian Open.
As he was announced fans started chanting his name, sang "O Canada!" and just generally let him know that they were there to support him. A far cry from the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, PGA Tour Canada, and the Korn Ferry Tour where he usually plays golf.
"It's been an amazing experience," said Macdonald, who shot a 3-over 75 to finish the third round tied for 58th. "Today didn't go too hot for me but it was still pretty insane.
"The crowds in the back nine like that Rink hole were like nothing I've experienced before."
The 28-year-old Macdonald is playing in the national men's golf championship for only the second time of his career, having missed the cut last year at St. George's Golf and Country Club, also in Toronto. Making the cut this week underscored that he can hang with the best in men's professional golf.
"I played in the Open last year and I missed the cut by one but I've been around a lot of these guys as I've been playing the Korn Ferry Tour the last three years," said Macdonald. "So a lot of the guys that I've played with out there are out here now.
"I know that my good golf is good enough. It's just getting out there and doing it."
Macdonald will travel west to Victoria following the conclusion of the Canadian Open. He'll be in the field for the Royal Beach Victoria Open, the first event on the PGA Tour Canada's calendar, then he'll head back south to finish out the Latinoamerica Tour season.
"Victoria is also a great spot and I think that's probably one of the best tour stops out there," said Macdonald. "Then going from there to Guadalajara for the Latinoamerica event and then their Tour Championship after that in Cancun.
"I think I'll be playing seven in a row, so I'm on a bit of a stretch."
Macdonald is one of eight Canadians left in the field at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. It's the most Canadians to make the cut at the men's national championship since 2002.
Nick Taylor set a course record with a 9-under 63 to surge into a tie for eighth at 11-under overall. Corey Conners (70) of Listowel, Ont., was a shot back of Taylor, in sole possession of 10th.
Adam Hadwin (70), also from Abbotsford, was tied for 16th at 7-under.
Taylor Pendrith (70) of Richmond Hill, Ont., was tied for 24th. Roger Sloan (73) of Merritt, B.C., dropped into a tie for 33rd, and Edmonton's Wil Bateman (75) was tied for 54th.
Canadian golfing legend Mike Weird (74) of Brights Grove, Ont., was tied with Macdonald at even par.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press