Golf A Marathon For du Toit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com

No other individual sport – perhaps no other sport – comes with as many highs and lows as does professional golf. For the field of 59 at this week’s Freedom 55 Financial Championship, grinding it out on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada requires just as much mental strength as prowess from tee to green.

How tough can it be to make it to the Web.com Tour, and finally the PGA Tour? Just ask the 2016 Freedom 55 Financial Championship winner Paul Barjon, who struggled immensely on the Web.com Tour last year and is back in the field at Highland Country Club this week – read about Barjon here.

Life on tour is tough enough without having had a taste of the PGA Tour. But more times than not, when a young golfer gets a taste of the big tour, only to be back on a development tour like the Mackenzie Tour, it can break a career.

Jared du Toit tees off Saturday at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

But that’s not in the cards for Canadian Jared du Toit. The Calgary-born, Kimberley, B.C.-raised golfer is back at Highland where last year he finished T17, high enough to clinch Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year honours and the $25,000 prize.

Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas may have captured the 2016 RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club, but it was the then little-known amateur golfer du Toit who captured the hearts of Canadian golf fans. The former Arizona State University Sun Devil gave Canadians from coast to coast something to cheer about, as he posted a 9-under 279 (67-71-70-71) to finish tied for ninth at Glen Abbey. He earned low amateur honours, and was the first Canadian amateur to record a top-10 finish since B.C.’s Doug Bajus in 1954.

Catapulted by a Saturday eagle putt made at 18, du Toit received rock star status while in the final round Sunday with 2013 RBC Canadian Open winner Brandt Snedeker. Glen Abbey became the scene of a love-in, featuring our nation’s newest star of the links.

“Each day, the crowds got bigger,” du Toit remembered “On Sunday, every green I walked off of, the fans were reaching for high fives, and I was just eating up every minute of it, trying to hit as many hands as I could. Even on Sunday when things weren’t going my way, people were clapping all around me. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Jared du Toit with Brandt Snedeker at the Canadian Open. Photo: Bernard Brault/Golf Canada.

Du Toit found much success on the links in his new B.C. home, where he captured the 2013 B.C. Junior Boys and 2015 B.C. Men’s Amateur championships. The former member of Canada’s national amateur squad attended the University of Idaho for his first two seasons of college golf before transferring to Arizona. There, he played with PGA Tour star John Rahm, who once called du Toit a “stud athlete. He has another gear in him that most others don’t.”

In 2017, du Toit made the cut in all 11 of his Mackenzie Tour starts and recorded three top-10 finishes in his first season as a professional.

This season, he has posted just one top-10 finish – fifth at June’s GolfBC Championship in Kelowna, B.C. Du Toit has missed the cut four times, and entered this week’s tour championship with a missed cut at last week’s Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval in Montreal.

With total 2018 earnings $17,442, du Toit has no chance to claim one of five Web.com Tour cards this weekend, but with a win and $40,000 prize he can finish in the Top 10.

The top five players on the Order of Merit following the event will secure Web.com Tour status, with the top player fully exempt through the 2019 season. Players who finish between 6-10 on the year-long race will receive an exemption into the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School and players 11-25 will receive an exemption into the second stage of the event.

Du Toit entered this week in the No. 38 spot.

Having played in the final group on Sunday at the Canadian Open with PGA Tour winner Snedeker, du Toit had a taste of the limelight. Many golfers would fold like a cheap suitcase after falling out of the public eye. But not du Toit, who says his entire support team constantly reminds him of how talented he is, and what it will take to climb back up the ladder.

Jared du Toit with the 2017 Dan Halldorson Trophy. Photo: Claus Andersen/PGA TOUR.

“I know it’s a grind. All the people around me, my team, have made it very clear it’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be winning tournaments. But like I’ve said before, this is what makes it fun – the challenge. Just like a round of golf, you have to be patient, said du Toit, whose team includes sports psychologist Adrienne Leslie-Toogood of Winnipeg.

“The way I’m wired, I’m pretty hard on myself a lot of the time,” du Toit said, “so she tries to lighten that up a little bit – reminds me to smell the roses sometimes. She emphasizes, ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ She says, ‘You’re going to have a lot of bad times and you’ve really got to cherish the good times. So don’t let the bad times hit you too hard.”

At the same time, du Toit knows he has the right stuff for succeeding on the PGA Tour.

“Absolutely. I know everything’s there. But that’s what does make it frustrating – when you don’t get the results you want,” he said. “Everyone (on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada) has a lot of talent. But these tours do a good job of weeding out the weak. And I’ve found myself on the bad side of things at times this year. So it has been very frustrating.

Jared du Toit at Highland Country Club’s first tee earlier today. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

“Just this week, I was talking to my coach (Team Canada coach Derek Ingram) and he asked me, ‘If you are going to have a 20-year career on the PGA Tour, would you feel nervous this week? Would you put a lot of pressure on yourself this week?’ And I said, no. So, that’s kind of the outlook I’m trying to take this week.”

At publishing, du Toit has followed up his two-round total of 134 (64-70) with a front nine 4-under 32, putting him at 10-under-par and currently tied for fifth.

He may have called his Canadian Open experience something he’ll never forget, but here’s betting the best is yet to come for du Toit as he continues to grind through his marathon of golf.

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Jeffrey Reed is a long-time member of the London sports media and one of Canada’s leading golf writers, with seven national and international writing awards. His third book, chronicling the history of the Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association 1918-2018, was recently published by the CSGA. He’s currently writing his fourth book a biography of one of the all-time great amateur golfers, Sandy Somerville. Contact him at jeff@londonontariogolf.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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