Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Du Toit earns Asian Tour card and now tries to sort out his schedule; Another strong showing in desert by Hadwin; Zhang fourth at Annika Invitational

Jared du Toit Tees Off In 2022 RBC Canadian Open - Bernard Brault/Golf Canada Photo

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Jared du Toit has his Asian Tour card and now just has to sort out what that means.

On the surface it looks like a terrific opportunity for the 28-year-old Kimberley product, who tied for 12th at the final stage of the Asian Tour qualifying school last week in Hua Hin, Thailand. “I think it’s a good opportunity,” du Toit said over the phone from Thailand.

“I don’t really know how it is all going to shake out.”

Du Toit has questions about whether his full status on the Asian Tour gets him into that tour’s lucrative International Series events that also feature players from the DP World Tour and some LIV players. No one at the Asian Tour was able to answer those questions.

“Nobody really had an answer for me whether the Q-school category gets into those events,” du Toit said. “I know last year it did. It just seems like they don’t really have that figured out yet because their whole process and everything has changed, too, so they don’t want to make promises they can’t fulfil. I really don’t know.”

For now, du Toit is headed back to North America. He has conditional Korn Ferry Tour status and will play in two upcoming qualifiers in Florida for KFT events in Argentina and Chile in late February and early March. If he plays his way into one or both of those events, du Toit will likely miss the Asian Tour opener, the IRS Prima Malaysian Open, in mid-February.

“If I can sneak into a couple of Korn Ferry events I think that probably takes priority,” he said. “But at the same time, if I get into those International Series events those would be tough to turn down. The purses ($2.5 million) are so good and if you play well in one of those it can get you into some Euro co-sanctioned events and all that.”

photo courtesy Jared du Toit X account

Jared Poses With His Girlfriend Raquel Olmos Alongside The Asian Tour Q-School Scoreboard

Du Toit is thankful to have more options. He also has status for the first six events of the new PGA Tour Americas circuit that begins in Mexico in late March. “If I am not able to improve my status on Korn Ferry then I would default to Asia,” he said. “If my Asian status isn’t what I think it is, then I would default to Americas. All things considered, all three of those are better than what I had last year. So I have definitely set myself up well to have some success this year.”

Du Toit was pleased with the way he bounced back after a slow start in Thailand. He was three-over par through 36 holes, but closed with rounds of 63, 66 and 72 to easily finish among the top 35 players who earned status. “Five rounds, so it was definitely a marathon,” he said.

“There’s two cuts (after 36 and 72 holes) and I opened up with two very mediocre rounds and it was like, okay, let’s just try to get some more golf. I kind of went off in the third round and it changed my mood and the way I was feeling about things. Round four I played great as well. The final round I was playing good, too, but just kind of fizzled out at the end. I was 130th through two rounds, so it was a real cool turnaround.”

One thing seems certain. Du Toit figures to be piling up the frequent-flier miles this year. If he does play a lot on the Asian Tour, there will be lots of travel. “I was looking at the schedule and it’s just wild where you go,” he said. “The Middle East, Asia, Africa, New Zealand. It’s crazy. It’s called the Asian Tour, but basically it is everywhere but North America. It’s kind of everywhere.”

The schedule is highlighted by International Series events in Oman, Macau, Morocco and Qatar. The schedule also includes stops in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan. Fellow British Columbian Jake Lane of Charlie Lake was also in the Thailand Q-school field, but failed to qualify.

DESERT DELIGHT: Adam Hadwin’s love affair with The American Express tourney in the Southern California desert shows no signs of abating. Hadwin made his ninth straight cut and fifth top 10 at the tournament as he tied for 6th. His 25-under total was 4 shots behind winner Nick Dunlap and earned Hadwin US$310,800. Dunlap became the first amateur to win an event on the PGA TOUR since Phil Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open in 1991.

The 54-hole cut was 13-under par and Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor missed by two shots. Merritt’s Roger Sloan (three-under) also missed the cut in what was his first PGA TOUR start since regaining status via the Korn Ferry Tour last year. Sloan is in the field for this week’s Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, where Surrey’s Adam Svensson will also play after taking last week off. Max Homa is the defending champion.

CONDITIONAL CHANGE: The PGA Tour Americas circuit has awarded conditional status to players who finished 61st to 80th on the 2023 PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica points lists. That benefits Victoria’s Jeevan Sihota, who was 69th on PGA Tour Canada last year, and Richmond’s Chris Crisologo, who was 71st. The PGA Tour Americas — essentially a merger of the Canadian and Latinoamerica tours — begins its inaugural season March 21-24 with the Bupa Championship in Tulum, Mexico.

FOURTH IN FLORIDA: Vancouver’s Vanessa Zhang had another impressive outing last week as she tied for fourth in the American Junior Golf Association’s Annika Invitational in Orlando. Zhang’s 54-hole total of eight-under par was five shots behind winner Natalie Yen of West Linn, Ore.

POSITIVE START: Longtime Delta resident Yi Cao tied for 31st in his Korn Ferry Tour debut at the Bahamas Great Exhuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. Cao, a Chinese national who plays out of Beach Grove Golf Club, finished the event at five-under par. That was 12 shots behind winner Jeremy Paul of Germany. Cao earned $6,650.