New pro Du Toit miss­ing mom

The London Free Press - - SPORTS -

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.

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