(Photo: Sun Devil Athletics)
A ride home in Phil Mickelson’s private jet, congratulatory tweets from the likes of Paul Casey and Hank Haney, and playing behind the number one amateur in the world, Jared Du Toit has taken a lot from his first year as a Sun Devil.
The 20-year-old B.C. Amateur champion is heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico for this weekend’s NCAA Regionals with his Sun Devils teammates.
Du Toit, a junior transfer from the University of Idaho, says he has no regrets since his transfer to ASU and the experience has been ‘unreal.’
“This has been awesome,” du Toit said, “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. When I transferred here I was a little unsure about what I was going to get. But everything that has happened has been best-case scenario for me. It truly has been a smooth transition and it’s been an awesome first year at Arizona State.”
Du Toit transferred to ASU after two successful years at the University of Idaho. It was a step up in competition, but du Toit has not missed a beat. He ranks second on his team with a stroke average of 71.33 and has recorded three top-10 finishes.
Only senior Jon Rahm has been better then Du Toit and he’s the world’s top-ranked amateur.
“Jared has been a great addition,” said head coach Tim Mickelson. “He has played well, he is a great kid and is a lot of fun to have on the team. I could not have wished it to have gone this well.”
Mickelson cited du Toit’s consistency as one of his real strengths going forward.
“I think most people would agree you are not going to look at his swing and think of Tiger Woods or Adam Scott, but he is so consistent,” Mickelson said. “He knows what type of player he is and he knows his game. His consistency has been a huge benefit to us and obviously to him as well.”
Du Toit, who won last year’s B.C. Amateur Championship at Fairview Mountain in Oliver, British Columbia by seven shots, tried to put his first season as a Sun Devil into words.
“I haven’t done anything too spectacular, but I certainly haven’t done anything that has hurt the team at all. I’d like to get my good a little better, but keep my bad as good as it is, if that makes sense.”
Du Toit said it did not take him long to realize he had made a great decision in choosing to transfer to Arizona State. He said he knew the weather would be a whole lot better than it was in Idaho, but there have been so many other positives. Take his first tournament with ASU last fall as an example.
The Sun Devils had traveled to Chicago to compete in a tournament and there happened to be a PGA Tour event going on at the same time.
“Phil Mickelson is an ASU alum and of course is the coach’s (older) brother,” du Toit said. “We finished our tournament the same day as the PGA Tour event ended and he flew us home on his private jet. I could go on just telling stories like that. It has been unreal.”
Du Toit shot what he called the round of his life back in January during a team qualifier at a course called Desert Forest. It’s regarded as perhaps the toughest course in Arizona. Du Toit shot a nine-under 63 that included two bogeys. It earned him congratulatory tweets from ASU alum and PGA Tour regular Paul Casey, as well as renowned instructor Hank Haney.
“I think I broke the course record by three,” du Toit said.
Amazing stuff Jared. DF is one of my favourites and perhaps the toughest in AZ. https://t.co/VjokbxGtgh
— Paul Casey (@Paul_Casey) January 24, 2016
That is an unbelievable score on a great and really hard course, impressive https://t.co/TO6Dzwqo9N
— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) January 24, 2016
“Bubba (Watson) was on the list before me or something like that,” he said. “It was just unbelievable. I wasn’t expecting to get the reach-outs on social media from guys like Paul Casey and Hank Haney who sent me stuff on Twitter. That was really exciting for me.”
Although he has been forced to play in his considerable shadow, du Toit said having Rahm as a teammate this year has been both a blessing and motivator. Rahm heads into the NCAA Regionals fresh off of a victory at the Pac-12 Championship.
“He has done just about everything you can do in amateur golf,” du Toit said of Rahm, who is completing his final year at ASU. “He’s a really good friend of mine and I have learned a lot from him. There’s a reason that he is (No. 1) and it’s kind of cool to see what he can do and obviously try to emulate him and get to the level he is at, too.”
Mickelson thinks playing alongside Rahm has been good for du Toit.
“He doesn’t mind that he is being overshadowed and it’s not a big deal,” Mickelson said. “He just goes about his business. The flip side of that is I think Jared knows that having a guy like Jon Rahm around can only help him get better because he goes to practice knowing that there are people that can contend with him or beat him and it makes him elevate his game, which was something that he was lacking at Idaho because he was the No. 1 guy by far.”
Following this weekend’s NCAA Regional, du Toit and the ninth-ranked Sun Devils will find out if they will be heading to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
A busy summer will follow for du Toit, a marketing major who is a member of Golf Canada’s National Team. He is hoping to receive exemptions into two Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada events, likely in Kelowna and Saskatoon, and has a full summer schedule planned.
In the meantime, du Toit said he’s hoping he and his ASU teammates can make the most of the month of May.
“It is a big month for us,” he said. “It should be fun.”