Only four feet stood between Kimberley golfer Jared duToit and a championship.
Despite some pounding nerves, he brought his club back and sunk a short putt on the 16th hole at Revelstoke Golf Club to with the B.C. Junior Boys title last Friday.
“This is four feet for the B.C. junior—a must make and the nerves were going everywhere. The putter just feels so heavy when you’re in that situation,” recalled duToit, speaking from Radium where he will be competing in the B.C. Amateur Championship this week.
“I took it back and just focused on making a good stroke and rolled it in. I don’t think I realized what I’d done until the ball went in the hole and realized I was the winner and couldn’t be more excited. Couldn’t wipe that smile off my face.”
Surrounded by 100 spectators, duToit had just capped off a remarkable comeback that day, erasing a two-stroke deficit that put him in a three way tie for first place, which set up a playoff hole.
Even though all the eyes were on him, he welcomed the added pressure of having the gallery watch his every move.
“Normally, I’m pretty good in front of spectators,” duToit said. “I like playing in front of spectators and when there is people there, it’s pretty fun for me.
“There’s more pressure, but if you pull through, you just look like the guy, right? And I like being that guy.”
DuToit led the field after the second round of the event last week, but struggled on the third day, falling to fourth place and two strokes away from the lead.
However, he played lights out in the final round, shooting a course-tying seven under par for a score of 65. He saved a par on the 17th hole, sinking a 15-foot putt, and went into the final hole down by a stroke.
“I ripped my drive and then hit my approach shot just like I envisioned it, hit it to five feet and made a little five-foot slider to make birdie that put me 11-under and eventually tie for the lead,” said duToit.
He also had some help from his playoff competitors in Kevin Vigna and Jordan Lu on the 18th hole. Vigna had a birdie put that could’ve ended the whole event, however, the ball stopped just inches from the hole.
Both Vigna and Lu struggled off their tee shots on the playoff hole, and they posted bogeys, but duToit drilled his drive onto the centre of the fairway. He missed the free with his approach, but chipped within four feet to putt for par.
The win qualifies duToit for a spot on Team B.C. for the Canadian Junior Boys Championship in Sudbury, Ont, at the end of July. DuToit is also going to shoot for a spot at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship through a qualifying tournament in Victoria at the beginning of August.
While duToit won the tournament as an individual, he was also a part of a group that won the zone team—a first-ever for the Kootenay region. DuToit, along with his brother, Russell, and fellow Kimberley golfer Evan Gresty and Scott Merriam of Cranbrook, represented Zone One-E and won the team portion of the tournament, beating out six other zones.