OLIVER, British Columbia — For four days, Jared du Toit proudly sported his 2013 Champion bag that he earned for winning the 2013 BC Junior Boys title in a playoff over Jordan Lu and Kevin Vigna.
Now he can put that into storage because he has a 2015 Champion bag which signifies his win at the 113th BC Amateur at Fairview Mountain.
Du Toit played a solid final round, never letting his closest competitor, Stuart Macdonald of Point Grey, get any closer than four strokes. Du Toit finished at (-10) 278 after his final round (+1) 73 to win by seven strokes over Point Grey’s Stuart Macdonald.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said du Toit after accepting the Bostock Trophy as the 113th BC Amateur champion. “I remember when I was 13, caddying for a friend at the BC Am and I saw the guys in the final group. I hoped and thought that would be me some day and that day was today.”
And don’t think the champion bag isn’t a big thing to du Toit. “I’ve been proud to show off this bag as a champion in 2013 and now I have one for this year,” said du Toit.
Macdonald, the midway leader at Fairview Mountain, couldn’t break par on the last two days, ballooning to a final round (+4) 76, which was still good enough for a (-3) total of 285 and solo second place.
“Hats off to Jared, he deserves this win so much,” said Macdonald. “He played so well, especially when the conditions got windy and tough. I didn’t lose this tournament, he won this and I congratulate him on his win.”
Macdonald got to within striking distance of du Toit on the front nine, but the killing blow came on the 8th hole when du Toit made birdie while Macdonald made bogey after hitting his drive right. That extended du Toit’s lead to six and he coasted in the rest of the way.
“It was good to have a big lead going into the round and once I extended it, it was just about getting in and finishing,” said du Toit.
Du Toit was a front-runner from the very start, as his first three rounds of 68, 68 and 69 had him no worse than second at any point in the tournament.
By limiting the number of mistakes he made – only one double bogey, along with just 11 bogeys to go with 19 birdies and back-to-back eagles (made during his opening round) – du Toit was the steadiest player in Oliver.
While other players made big numbers all over Fairview Mountain, du Toit kept to a conservative game plan of trying to make easy pars on the par-3s and par-4s and trying to make birdie on all the par-5s. He was (-8) on the par-5s, which included his only double bogey on the 5th hole in his opening round.
But du Toit really put the tournament away during the final 5 holes during Round 3. Trailing Macdonald by two strokes, du Toit made birdies on all but the treacherous par-4 16th and held a commanding four-stroke cushion which he would nurse through his final round.
Perhaps the moment Macdonald knew du Toit had moved ahead for good was on the final hole during the third round, when Macdonald hit his second shot long into the back bunker, found it plugged and had to play away from the hole, saving bogey.
But du Toit hit his approach to 15 feet under the hole and calmly stroked his birdie putt into the centre of the cup to give himself double the lead going into Round 4.
While the sun came out on Friday for the final round, the wind kicked up, pushing scores up to the point where only two players finished under-par for the day.
The most important sub-par round came from the University of Washington’s Kevin Kwon, who shot a (-2) round of 70 to move from outside the top 10 to third spot and the final Willingdon Cup spot. “It’s always a big deal to be able to wear the British Columbia colours,” said Kwon. “I’m always proud to represent BC.”
As for his round, Kwon came out strong, with birdies on four of his first five holes. He would make pars the rest of the way, save for bogeys at 6 and 18. “It was so windy out there that I knew if I could make pars after my start, I would move up the leaderboard fast,” said Kwon. “It turned out to be a good tournament for me.”
The best final round was produced by Royal Colwood’s Keaton Gudz, who made bogey on his opening hole, and then proceeded to birdie six holes to finish at (-5) 67 for the day and (+2) 290 for the tournament.
“I wish I had played better yesterday,” said Gudz of his third-round 77. “I think the difference today was I hit my irons close and made some putts. I had a lot of confidence standing over my putts today and I made a score that I am pretty happy with.”
Gudz also credited his Royal Colwood colleague Kevin Carrigan for taking him under his wing. “Kevin is a huge role model for me,” said Gudz. “I’m learning so much playing with him.”
Defending champion Jordan Lu had another steady round, finishing at even par 72 for the day and (+1) 289 for the tournament. “I grinded so hard today,” said Lu.
“I didn’t make enough putts and with the wind blowing like it was, I wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be. I thought the scores would be a lot higher. What Jared did, to make the scores that he did, that’s really good on this course, in this weather.”
The Bostock Trophy, donated by Senator Hewitt Bostock in 1895, is the prize given to the winner of BC’s longest running and most prestigious amateur golf tournament. The trophy remains the property of the Victoria Golf Club and is on loan to the British Columbia Golf Association for the presentation each year to the winner.
Past winners have included Doug Roxburgh, who has won 13 times, James Lepp, who won four consecutive titles, and last year’s champion, Jordan Lu.
British Columbia will be represented by 42 golfers at the Canadian Men's Amateur Championship, with the top 25 and ties from the BC Amateur earning spots at the Weston Golf and Country Club and Lambton Golf and Country Club in Toronto, beginning Aug. 10.