“I’d like to get the monkey off my back,” said DeLaet, one of the Canadian standouts on the PGA Tour who represented Canada at the Olympics last year. “I think more than anything it’s patience. I felt like I did a good job of that today. That’s the key here — to be patient and know that I’m going to have birdie looks. And if I can hole a few putts in, see what happens.”
DeLaet will be paired in the final group on Sunday with Jason Dufner, a past winner of the PGA Championship. DeLaet finds himself one shot back of Dufner after an untimely bogey on the final hole. DeLaet shot a 2-under par 69 on the tight Harbour Town Golf Links.
The next challenge will be the one DeLaet has struggled with his entire career — how to close a tournament out for his first PGA Tour win. The big-hitting DeLaet has finished second three times, but has also wilted under the pressure of playing with the tournament on the line. He was last runner-up in 2014. Since that time, he’s struggled with the chipping yips and his putting, though he remains one of the tour’s best ball strikers.
However, this season he’s seen a resurgence, and ranks 15th in strokes-gained-putting, a stat that measures how his putting compares to the rest of the field.
So how does DeLaet plan on changing his fortunes on Sunday? “I think more than anything it’s just to stay in the mix on the front nine and see where we’re at on the back nine,” he says.
“If we need to get aggressive and try to make some moves, we’ll do that. If we need to keep plodding along and see what happens the last few holes, we’ll do that. A lot of it is going to depend on what the other guys are doing, and I can’t really do anything about that, so we’ll keep the game plan up in the air.”
DeLaet isn’t the only Canadian in the mix at the RBC Heritage. British Columbia native Nick Taylor is in a tie for 9th, five shots back of the leader, while recent PGA Tour winner Adam Hadwin is in a tie for 20th at 5-under. Brantford, Ont.’s David Hearn is in a tie for 31st at 4-under par.
Given the Canadians in the field, and the sponsorship of Canadian bank RBC, it isn’t surprising to hear the group of golfers received a lot of applause for their efforts.
“There’s a ton of support with the RBC, there’s a lot of Canadians down here,” said DeLaet. “And everywhere we go there is a lot of support.”