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DuToit shoots for confidence before Big Ten tourney

The freshman is trying to get his swing back as he returns from injury.

Jon DuToit knows he only needs one tournament to get his consistency back.

The freshman on the Gophers men’s golf team inserted himself in the Gophers lineup this year, but he’s missed much of the spring season due to injury.

DuToit developed tendinitis in his wrist during spring break when the Gophers competed in the Linger Longer Invitational in Georgia. He returned to the lineup last weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational.

When the Chaska, Minn., native makes the lineup, he plays well. And only senior Erik Van Rooyen and junior Alex Gaugert have competed in more rounds this school year.

DuToit said competing against six upperclassmen made him wonder early in the season how he would fit in the lineup.

“I knew it was going to be kind of tough to get in the lineup right away,” he said.

Once he made it, he wasn’t surprised to become one of the Gophers’ best and most consistent contributors. Head coach John Carlson has shown high praise for DuToit throughout the season.

But dealing with an injury was a new experience for DuToit. He said he wondered how much pain would exist each time he swung.

“It was a battle both mentally and physically,” he said.

The pain wore him down during the second of two 18-hole rounds last Saturday, he said. His score Sunday reflected that fatigue, as he finished with the team’s worst score in the third round.

That hasn’t been the case for most of the year. DuToit tied Van Rooyen for the best score at the season-opening Gopher Invitational and finished third or better on the team in every other tournament prior to his injury.

DuToit said his health should be back to normal now, though he said he hasn’t had many opportunities to “get the rust off” and fully swing a golf club.

The driver has been DuToit’s best club this year. He said he’s driven the ball straight and put himself in good positions off the tee.

But he said his other clubs in the bag are more important for shooting a low score.

“My iron game and my putting is what it comes down to,” he said.

DuToit said it is “extremely important” to hit quality shots and shoot good scores this weekend as it is his last chance to develop a rhythm before the Big Ten championships April 26-28.

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