Drama doesn't faze DuToit, who wins Minnesota State Open in playoff over Rask

  • Article by: KELLY PARSONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2013 - 12:30 AM

Jon DuToit, playing in his second State Open, made up a lot of ground in regulation before his birdie won a three-man playoff at Edinburgh USA.

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Clayton Rask went into Sunday’s third round of the Minnesota State Open atop the leaderboard after shooting a 6-under-par 66 the day before. On the back nine, however, he recorded two bogeys and a double-bogey, closing with a 5 on the par-4 18th hole.

Rask’s late-day trouble at Edinburgh USA became eventual winner Jon DuToit’s big break.

DuToit, 20, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, won his first State Open after he birdied the first playoff hole. DuToit, Rask and Sammy Schmitz all finished with an 8-under-par 208 at the end of three rounds of regulation.

“I was pretty nervous,” DuToit said about the playoff. “I tried not to really focus on what was going on.”

Rask, who said he had to hit out of a divot on the 18th hole in regulation, found more trouble in the playoff hole, driving into a sand trap off the tee.

Schmitz, who made a lengthy putt on the final hole in regulation, missed the birdie putt in the playoff.

DuToit then sunk a 10-foot putt for the victory, throwing his arm in the air in celebration as the ball rolled in.

He walked off the green toward the outstretched arms of his mom and sister, who followed him on the course throughout the day.

“I know my mom’s crying over here,” DuToit said after his win. “It was cool to see them walking off holes, mom asking me, ‘Do you need anything? Do you need a granola bar?’ It was fun.”

DuToit, who made his State Open debut last summer, said Sunday’s victory was the biggest of his career, one that will give him momentum going into the U.S. Amateur qualifier, where he will compete Monday in St. Cloud.

Rask, who won the State Open in 2010, said Sunday’s playoff hole was the first of his career.

Despite the novelty of the situation, Rask said he remained calm.

“I wasn’t overly nervous or anything,” he said. “You could definitely feel the blood pumping a bit more, but that’s when you take a deep breath and step back and put yourself back in it.”

Because DuToit and Schmitz are amateurs, Rask, who tied Schmitz for second place, took home the $8,500 professional prize. Still, he appeared disappointed, having let the championship barely slip away.

“[My round] was up and down,” Rask said. “I made good shots when I had to. Just had a couple unfortunate breaks.”

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