Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo
Senior Jon DuToit entered the fall season with momentum.
He won the Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship in July, coming back from a five-stroke deficit in the tournament.
Head coach John Carlson said he expected a lot from DuToit heading into the year because of that finish.
“We were really hoping to have two or three guys that were really vying for that No. 1 spot,” Carlson said. “We have expected Jon to vie for that spot along with Justin Doeden.”
DuToit struggled in his first tournament of the fall season at the Gopher Invitational, though. He finished worse than any Gophers golfer and came in 71st place individually.
“I expected him to come back in a little bit better form than he did,” Carlson said. “I knew he had been working hard heading up to it, and his scores were not impressive.”
DuToit’s struggles kept him off the traveling team for the Gophers next tournament, the Husky Invitational.
DuToit earned his way back onto the traveling roster before the Gophers’ next tournament, winning a three-round qualifier to be able to compete at the Macdonald Cup.
“It’s golf,” DuToit said. “You go through your ups and downs. It’s a funny game. [I] just try to stay positive and continue to have as much fun as I can with the game of golf.”
The senior made the most of his opportunity on the road with the team, finishing in second place at the tournament behind only Marco Iten from the University of Stirling. The
second-place finish was the best of DuToit’s career, and he tied his career-low score at 67.
“It was nice to come back and play well and see all that work from the previous two weeks pay off and just get back to the basics,” DuToit said.
DuToit capitalized on his finish at the Macdonald Cup and kept golfing well at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational. Junior transfer Justin Doeden was the only Minnesota player
to finish better than DuToit, beating him by four strokes.
“He’s a veteran here on the team,” Doeden said. “He’s someone I look up to. Even though he’s only a year older than me, I feel like, with me being a transfer here and him
having two more years of experience as a Gopher, he kind of knows the ropes.”
Doeden and DuToit have been competing for the top spot on the team the last two weeks. Doeden was the Gophers’ top golfer early in the year, but DuToit is now coming on strong.
DuToit was exempt from qualifying for the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate that begins Monday, just a month after having to golf his way onto the traveling roster.
“We expect [DuToit] to have a good finish down in [Royal Oaks],” Carlson said.