New pro Du Toit missing mom
Scoring well at Highland is all about managing the course, driving well and keeping the ball below the hole on the fast, undulating greens.
Du Toit went on a four-hole birdie binge from eight to 11. He then birdied the tough 14th before going birdie-birdie on 17 and 18.
“I was never really out of position,” du Toit said. “I think I might have been out of position two times and both times I was able to get them up and down for par and then I was able to convert a lot of birdies. It was an overall solid round that I managed well.”
Du Toit sounded a little surprised by how well he played on the day.
“If you would have talked to me a couple of days ago I would have told you something different, I wasn’t playing well,” he said. “I was in a bit of a slump a couple of days ago and I stayed patient, didn’t overwork myself Wednesday and now we’re here and played well. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The 22-year-old said he’d been getting a little sore and overcompensating on his swing. Du Toit turned professional only this year.
“It’s a grind for sure,” he said. “You don’t have a college coach or a mom helping you out everywhere. It’s been a nice learning experience for me. I felt I’ve learned a lot in the three, four months out here.”
Jonathan Khan is one of those chasing du Toit at five-under. Khan has to consider anything that happens to him over the weekend to be a bonus. He was in the second group to go off in the morning.
The top 60 players make it to the Tour Championship tournament. Last year Khan was 54th going into the penultimate tournament when he missed the cut. He finished 61st, failing to qualify for the event.
Khan had a serious case of déjà vu this year. He was 58th going into the penultimate tournament and again missed the cut. He only dropped one spot and has the chance to play one more week.
“I feel like I’m playing with house money,” he said. “I can go out and try to play as well as I want. It was a good feeling this year because last year was pretty tough.”
Things continue to go his way in the first round.
“I played really well,” Khan said. “I made two chip-ins and a 60-footer. Some crazy things kind of happened today. I got off to a poor start. I was one-over early and with two par-fives you got to get off to a better start, but I had a good finish.
“It was fun. After the third one on the par-three, I made a 60-footer, I was looking at my caddie and started laughing. It was kind of ridiculous. I know it’s the first day and there’s a lot of golf left.”
The way he’s playing has left Khan with a boost of confidence.
“It’s a great spot and like I said, there’s a lot of golf, but I’m going to have a good lunch, go practice and get back at it tomorrow,” he said.
Of the 57 players who teed off Thursday, only nine failed to shoot par or better.
Tee-off today at Highland for Round 2 is 8:22 a.m.