In surge of Jared Du Toit, rookies rule at Malaysian Open

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Jared Du Toit - TheGolfingHub
Jared Du Toit will be hoping to emulate Rick Gibson’s victory in this event in 1991, which saw him become the only Canadian to win Malaysia’s National Open. Photo: Asian Tour

Canadian Jared Du Toit is wasting no time in taking advantage of the playing opportunities afforded to him by graduating from the Asian Tour Qualifying School last month.

Related: Malaysian rookie Khavish Varadan the toast of his national Open

He shot a fine nine-under-par 62 to take the third-round lead in the US$1million IRS Prima Malaysian Open at The Mines Resort and Golf Club, in Kuala Lumpur.

His tournament total of 17-under gives him a one-stroke lead from joint-overnight leader Australian Kevin Yuan, who fired a 68, the same score as John Catlin from the United States, who is one shot further back – in the curtain raiser for the Asian Tour’s 2024 season.

Spain’s David Puig fired a 62 and is tied for fourth place, three off the lead, with Korean Bio Kim and Deyen Lawson from Australia, who both shot 66s, and England’s Steve Lewton, in with a 68.

The other co-leader at the start of the day Khavish Varadan from Malaysia slipped back with 72 and is five off the pace, along with compatriot Ervin Chang, who carded a 69.

 

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“You know everything was working, just one of those,” said 28-year-old Du Toit, from Alberta – who made 10 birdies, including four in succession from the ninth and three on the trot from the 15th, and one bogey.

“Got off to a nice start, made a nice birdie on the first hole, and just kind of kept it going. Hit a lot of quality shots on the smart side of the hole, and the putter got hot for me, and I made a couple.

“Probably the hole of my tournament was the bogey on 14, the par-three. I hit it in the water, did not hit a great wedge shot but made an 18 footer. That kept the momentum going. Just all in all a great day.”

The Canadian also played the Korn Ferry Qualifying School and is delighted to be finally playing for money in a tournament.

Du Toit, who won on the PGA Tour Canada in 2021, added: “I am loving being in Asia. It’s only my second time here, I was in Thailand for the Q School. I love Asian food, so it’s been pretty seamless there.

“I chose Asia as I wanted kind of a promotion for lack of better words. Played Canadian and Latin tours for a while and I heard great things about Asia, all the events, places you get to travel. It really excited me, so I signed up, and I was lucky enough to make it through Q School and now we are here.”

 

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Tomorrow he will be hoping to emulate Rick Gibson’s victory in this event in 1991, which saw him become the only Canadian to win Malaysia’s National Open.

Yuan, chasing his first Asian Tour win, went out in one over but recovered well with a four-under homeward half.

He said: “It was a fun day out there, the pins were a little bit tougher, so I played a little bit more safe today. Overall, I am pretty happy with how I played, not too many huge mistakes. I am just looking forward to tomorrow.”

Catlin is attempting to make it win number five on the Asian Tour and will be one of the favourites tomorrow.

 

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He dropped a shot on the last missing a nine footer, and made a double on the par-four fifth where he found water off the tee but he was content with his days work.

“I am happy, excited to be in this position,” he said.

“I made a couple of mistakes but even that missed putt on 18 was so, so close. The putter feels good in my hands, and it’s been a while since that’s been the case. It’s a matter of going through the same processes tomorrow, nothing changes.”