First Round Leaderboard (Bold denotes Canadian):
Jared du Toit – 61 (-9)
Brett Lederer – 64 (-6)
Jonathan Garrick – 64 (-6)
JARED DU TOIT FIRES 61 TO LEAD FREEDOM 55 FINANCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
By Brian Decker
London, Ont. – Kimberley, British Columbia’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 and zero bogeys 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 Round One, 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.
Jared du Toit
22-year old Jared du Toit is coming off a standout amateur career that concluded in June with his senior season at Arizona State University, where he was named a 2017 NCAA 2nd team All-American.
The Kimberley, B.C. native is a member of Golf Canada’s National Team and captured the attention of the nation last year when he played his way into the final group on Sunday at the RBC Canadian Open before finishing T9.
du Toit turned professional at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist and earned status on the Mackenzie Tour by placing inside the top-60 on the Order of Merit through the first re-shuffle after the Players Cup.
Thursday’s round represents the second time du Toit has shot 61 this year, matching a third-round 10-under 61 at the GolfBC Championship.
du Toit needs at least a win and a finish of worse than two-way 14th by current Order of Merit No. 5 to move inside the The Five.
du Toit currently leads the race for Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Year. The Top Canadian on the Order of Merit at season’s end will earn the Dan Halldorson Trophy and a $25,000 prize.
23-year old Jonathan Garrick is in his second season on the Mackenzie Tour after graduating from UCLA in 2016. He was named an NCAA All-American three times as a Bruin.
Garrick is making his 21st career start on the Mackenzie Tour and ranks 25th on the
Order of Merit this year thanks to a T5 at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel and a T2 at the Mackenzie Investments Open presented by Jaguar Laval.
33-year old Brett Lederer is in his fifth season on the Mackenzie Tour. He graduated from Long Beach State in 2007.
Lederer is making his 45th start on the Mackenzie Tour and ranks 28th on the Order of Merit thanks to T5 finishes at the Bayview Place Cardtronics Open presented by Times Colonist and the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.
“I was super competitive out there. Every time I play with Robby (Shelton), I want to beat him just because he’s such a good player. It’s not anything against him, it’s just because we’re 1 and 2 and if I was 2 it would be the same way, and I want to beat the best players and compete against the best players. I know if I am playing with him, I know I’m on a high level because he’s always going to put up a low number.” – Kramer Hickok on an opening 5-under 65 while playing with Order of Merit No. 2 Robby Shelton.
Weather: 25 degrees Celsius (feels like 29), partly cloudy, winds at 14 km/h gusting to 20 km/h.
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