Du Toit fires a 64, takes one-shot lead into final round in Mexico
January 16, 2020
By Greg Villalobos, PGATOURLA.COM
- January 16, 2020
- Jared Du Toit holds a one-shot lead after a third-round-low 8-under 64 at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School Mexico. (Media/PGA TOUR)
MAZATLÁN, Mexico—With a round that featured two eagles and five birdies for a low-of-the-day, 8-under 64, Jared Du Toit of Canada charged to the top of the leaderboard Saturday afternoon at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament Mexico. The 24-year old got to 17-under 199 to move one-shot ahead of Anthony Paolucci of Dallas, Texas. Paolucci recorded his only bogey of the day on 17 for a round of 68 that prevented him from remaining in a tie for the lead for the third consecutive day.
At 1-under for the day thru 10 holes, Danny List of Perth, Australia, recorded seven 3s on his final eight holes to fire a 7-under 65 that allowed him to charge into the third spot, three strokes behind Du Toit. Mexico’s own Juan Carlos Benítez birdied two of his last three holes for a 6-under 66 that moved him into a tie for fourth along with Americans Brendon Doyle, 70, and Jacob Loya, 71. Loya had entered the day tied for the lead with Paolucci, but now trails by four.
Du Toit began the day with an upsetting par at the first, a 541-yard par-5 that plays down wind. “I hit two great shots and I had 30 feet for eagle and I ended up three-putting. That set a little fire under me and that kind of got me going,” said the Kimberley, B.C., native, who went on to collect birdies on Nos. 2 and 4.
After making his only bogey of the day at the par-3 6th, Du Toit went eagle-par-eagle to close the front nine. On No. 7, a 558-yard par-5, he sank a 25-footer and then hit a terrific drive to about six feet and made the putt for a 2 at the 383-yard par-4.
“On the back I just played pretty clean the whole time, just tried to make the game simple,” he said about a stretch in which he made birdies on Nos. 11, 14 and 18 in winds gusting to about 10 mph. “The first two days (the wind) was pretty calm, maybe a half club wind, but today I would say it was a full club wind for most of the day. It was a different challenge out there, but I hit it really well and putted well. Doesn’t matter what the conditions are like, if you do those things you are going to have success.”
Estrella del Mar has been a good fit for Du Toit, who also came here to successfully earn PGA TOUR Latinoamérica status in 2018 and 2019. His first time around he finished solo fourth, while last year he walked away with conditional status after tying for 22nd.
“I’m going to try to win this thing... I can’t control what anybody else does, but I’m going to try to control my golf ball,” said the player who will share the last pairing with Paolucci and List, starting at 11:50 a.m. off No. 1 Friday.
Did you know Jared Du Toit tied for ninth in his first PGA TOUR career start as a 21-year old amateur? As the highest-ranked Canadian in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (No. 60), he was awarded a sponsor exemption at the 2016 RBC Canadian Open. He immediately garnered notice with an opening-round, 5-under 67 that left him one stroke off the lead. With scores of 71-70 in the second and third rounds, respectively, he remained one stroke off the lead after each round. Paired in final-group Sunday with TOUR veteran and 54-hole leader Brandt Snedeker, he posted a 1-under 71 to finish at 9-under 279 and earn the Gary Cowan Award as low amateur.
With 18 holes to play, there are 36 players in position to earn PGA TOUR Latinoamérica status for the 2020 season. Below is a breakdown of the various rewards that the players inside the top 35 (and ties) can earn by the end of this week at Estrella del Mar Golf & Resort:
Exempt for the entire 2020 season
2nd through 12th (no ties)
Fully exempt for the first half of the 2020 season
13th through 35th (plus ties)
Conditionally exempt for the first half of the 2020 season
Ranked solo 84th among 86 players after an opening round of 7-over 79, Jake Hendrix has put together a nice comeback with rounds of 68-66, recording only one bogey on each of the past two rounds. With 18 holes to play, he has moved into a tie for 40th, two strokes outside the top-35 and ties that will secure status for the season.
Jared Du Toit will try to become the second Canadian player to win this Qualifying Tournament at Estrella del Mar. In 2016, the first time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica staged the event here, his countryman David Rose was the one claiming medalist honors. The past three years all the medalists have been players from the U.S.
Starting off No. 10, Danny List didn’t have a single 3 on the back nine, but he recorded seven of them on the front, with a string of six between Nos. 4 and 9. A PGA TOUR Latinoamérica rookie in 2018, List is in great position to make his Tour return after an injury plagued season last year.
Including four of the six players ranked inside the top-4 (Du Toit, Paolucci, List and Benítez), there are nine players who have shot in the 60s for the first three days.
There were 28 rounds in the 60s Thursday, up from 27 Wednesday, but still down from 33 Tuesday.
Below is the scoring average after each round at the 7,015-yard par-72 at Estrella del Mar.
Li Wang’s bogey-free run ended after 36 holes. The U.S. player had no bogeys while posting rounds of 68-70 the first two days, but today opened the third round with a bogey on No. 10. He went on to shoot 77 to drop into a tie for 48th after entering the day in a tie for 17th.
There were only two bogey-free rounds Thursday. Below is the breakdown by round.
First Round (7)
Brendon Doyle (64), Josh Sedeno (66), Steven Ihm (66), Josh Seiple (66), Daniel Hudson (67), Li Wang (68) and Tyler Torano (69).
Second Round (6)
Derek Bayley (66), Callum McNeill (66), William Mansfield (67), Sonny Michaud (69), Li Wang (70) and Paul Imondi (70).
Third Round (2)
James Anstiss (67) and Scott Newell (68).
Tied for the fourth spot after improving his score each day, Juan Carlos Benítez of Puebla, Mexico, is by far the best of five Latin American players competing this week. The following are their scores and positions after 54 holes of play at Estrella del Mar:
Juan Carlos Benítez (Mexico)
José Méndez (Costa Rica)
José Luis Muñoz (Peru) amateur
José Luis Martínez (Mexico) amateur
Mario Luján (Mexico)
Bruce Doucett and James Feutz of the U.S. withdrew on Thursday. With their countryman Jed Hilton (amateur) withdrawing on Wednesday, the 86-man field is now down to 83 heading into tomorrow’s final round.
“My first year (at this event) I played solid, finished solo fourth, and last year I was playing well, but had a couple of bad days coming in. I like it out here, I feel comfortable. I think a lot of people don’t see this style of grass very much, but I have played a little bit down here and I feel comfortable on the grass for sure.”—Jared Du Toit on playing this qualifier at Estrella del Mar for the third consecutive year
“It wasn’t easy today, there was lots of wind. The last four-five holes are pretty tough coming in, the wind is picking up and they are into the wind, but I’m pleased with how I played today.”—Anthony Paolucci on the windy conditions Thursday
“I hit a drive in the right side of the fairway on 17. I had like 190 to the back flag, the ball was severely above my feet and I tried to drive a 5-iron in there and I over hooked it into the bunker. (Then I) had a bad bunker shot and made bogey.”—Anthony Paolucci discussing his only bogey of the day at the par-4 No. 17
“I noticed the first couple of days that it’s very easy to make a mistake and get bogey, which happened on my first hole. I (missed) my approach shot into the first and made bogey, and then onto my second hole I hit my tee shot in the water, somehow made par. When it’s windy like this I just figure it’s tough for everyone, so you just have to keep hitting as many greens as possible and hopefully hole a few putts and the putts went in for me today”—Danny List
“I want to remain focused on what I have been doing. Just as I did last December, when I won (a Mexican Tour event) here, my focus has been hitting fairways and greens. By doing so, I have given myself many birdie opportunities. I want to keep doing the same thing and hopefully post a low round tomorrow to finish in a good spot.”—Juan Carlos Benítez
“Fortunately, I’ve been feeling a lot better. Sometimes it’s difficult to play well when your health is not at its best, because you don’t have the strength to hit solid shots.”—Juan Carlos Benítez on a stomachache that slowed him down at the beginning of the week
Third-Round Weather Report
Cloudy. High 81F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.