London, Ont. – Kimberley, B.C.’s Jared du Toit shot a 9-under 61 on Thursday at Highland Country Club to take the first-round lead at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship, the final event of the 2017 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.
The 22-year old member of Golf Canada’s national team made nine birdies on the day to lead by three shots over Californians Brett Lederer and Jonathan Garrick after 18 holes in London.
“I was never really out of position. I might have been out of position two times, and both times I was able to get them up-and-down for par, and I was able to convert on a lot of birdies,” said du Toit. “Overall it was a solid round and I just kind of managed well.”
With Highland Country Club playing firm and fast in Rd. 1, the recent Arizona State graduate said he felt comfortable as he meticulously plotted his way around the course instead of trying to overpower it, showing impressive wisdom for a first-year professional.
“I’m probably more on the thinking side anyway. I probably overanalyze, if anything, so when it’s firm and the wind is swirling like it was I think I have a bit of an edge just because I think a lot,” said du Toit.
du Toit can move as high as No. 5 on the Order of Merit with a win this week and was projected there after Thursday’s play with three rounds to go.
Lederer and Garrick both birdied the 18th hole to shoot 64, while seven players – Jonathan Khan, Chris Killmer, Seann Harlingten, Chris Williams, Jordan Niebrugge, Hank Lebioda and Order of Merit leader Kramer Hickok – were a shot further behind at 65.