Kimberley native Jared du Toit is set to live out a childhood dream after being named to Team Canada’s 2016 National Amateur Golf Squad Thursday.
“Growing up going to tournaments and the bigger events, you see the Team Canada guys show up and it was always a goal of mine to one day be there,” du Toit said over the phone from Arizona Thursday evening. “It’s super cool to look back and see where I was a couple years ago and see where I am today. I’m very, very happy to be on that team.”
du Toit, 20, was one of five players named to the national team by Golf Canada on Thursday, an honour that will open the Kimberley linkster to a boatload of new resources and opportunities courtesy the support of Canada’s national governing body for golf.
“This is always an exciting time of year as we welcome the next group of young men and women selected as members of Team Canada,” said Jeff Thompson, Golf Canada’s chief sport officer, in a media release. “Supporting, developing and nurturing Canada’s future stars remains to be at the core of our primary objectives. We are committed to investing in high performance talent through elite coaching, training, sport science and preparation.”
The first exciting opportunity for du Toit will come in January 2016 when he travels to Mexico for a training camp with Golf Canada. The camp comes as an opportunity to prepare for the 2016 World Amateur Golfers Championship, which is set to take place in September 2016 in Cancun at the El Camaleon Golf Club.
It seems as though not even the sky is the limit for the former Selkirk Secondary School student, winner of the 2015 B.C. Amateur Championship after earning Freshman of the Year honours in the NCAA’s Western Athletic Conference last season.
While he celebrates being named to Team Canada this week, the 6-foot junior-aged golfer recently wrapped up his first semester of competition with the NCAA’s Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devils golf program.
du Toit transferred to ASU this past spring, following two years of competition with the University of Idaho Vandals.
“It’s been fun. There are a lot more resources available down here as well and I’ve been trying to use them to my advantage,” du Toit said. “I’m trying to keep working towards getting better. My first semester here, I wouldn’t say it was a complete success. I would’ve liked to play better.
“Golf’s one big process.”
Under the tutelage of renowned coach Tim Mickelson, du Toit’s strongest showing of the semester came Oct. 12 to 13 at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational in Fairfax, Calif.
The Kimberley native posted three consecutive rounds in the mid-60s (67, 68, 68) en route to his first top-10 finish of the season — placing eighth — and helping the Sun Devils to a second-place team finish.
“I don’t think you can ever be too disappointed with [three rounds in the 60s],” du Toit said.
Following the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, du Toit and the Sun Devils wrapped up the first semester with another second-place team finish at the Tavistock Invitational in Isleworth, Fla., where du Toit rounded out his semester with a T-28th finish.
For now, the Kimberley native is set to enjoy some time off, with his next NCAA event scheduled for February 2016 — the Waikoloa Invitiational in Waikoloa, Hawaii.
“Looking back, I’ve played pretty well 11 months straight without a break,” du Toit said. “It’s definitely going to be nice to take some time off and when that time off is over, I’ll get back to work.”
Heading into the winter break, du Toit is ranked 122nd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, making him the second-ranked amateur on Team Canada.
du Toit is joined on Team Canada’s men’s squad by 22-year-old Blair Hamilton (Burlington, Ont.; University of Houston), 22-year-old Eric Banks (Truro, N.S.), 20-year-old Hugo Bernard (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que.) and 20-year-old Stuart Macdonald (Vancouver; Purdue University).
Team Canada’s men’s squad is set to be coached by Derek Ingram (head coach) and Robert Ratcliffe.