Kozak 21st in B.C. Amateur

Conner Kozak of Vernon finished tied for 21st in the 113th BC Amateur at Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver.

B.C. Golf Association/Morning Star Staff

Conner Kozak of Vernon finished tied for 21st in the 113th BC Amateur at Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver.

Kozak, an All-American with the UBC Thunderbirds, shot a final-round 75 Friday for a four-round total 296, sharing 21st spot with Patrick Murphy of Glencoe in Calgary. There was a field of 157.

Vernon’s Matt Kreutz, who will play for the Minto University Beavers in North Dakota next season, finished in a four-way share of 36th with a 76 Friday. He ended up at 301.

Brady Stead of Vernon, a star with the Camosun University Chargers in Victoria, carded a final-round 79 to split 50th place with two others at 306.

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 BC Amateur.

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-under 278 after his final round 73 to win by seven strokes over Point Grey’s Stuart Macdonald.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said du Toit after accepting the Bostock Trophy. “I remember when I was 13, caddying for a friend at the B.C. 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.”

Macdonald, the midway leader at Fairview, couldn’t break par on the last two days, ballooning to a final round 76, which was still good enough for a 3-under 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 eighth 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.”