Keeper wins for Frittelli

Henry

When the young South African student Dylan Frittelli hit the winning shot for the University of Texas in 2012 to clinch the American college title, a very bright future was predicted for him.

Frittelli built on that without further ado and won the Lyoness tournament in 2016 and the Mauritius Open in 2017. He clinched his first title in the US PGA Series when he won the John Deere Classic in 2019.

His career was on track and he was on his way to the pinnacle of his career.

But then a few setbacks followed, especially in 2023 when he lost his playing level. He missed the cut or withdrew in 23 of the 27 tournaments in which he teed off.

He has fallen back to 434th position in the golf rankings and he has been weighing whether he should walk away from the game. Still, he stuck with it and decided to play in the European series again – where he started to make deep tracks in his career six years ago.

He was red hot in the first three rounds of the Bahrain Championship which was decided this past weekend and on Sunday morning he teed off with a lead of two strokes in the last round.

He lost his lead over the first nine holes and when he was two strokes over par on the 12th hole, the dark clouds of uncertainty gathered again.

But he stayed calm and fought back, making three birdies on the next four holes to retake the lead.

He shot 275 (-13) to win the tournament by two shots ahead of compatriot Zander Lombard and Swede Jesper Svensson (277, -11), with another South African, Ockie Strydom, fourth on 279 (- 9).

Frittelli rolled in R7.9 million with his victory and was also rewarded with 500 points in the Race to Dubai race.

Lombard earned around R1 million with his joint second place and Strydom’s bank balance swelled with R535 000.

* In the American PGA Series’ Pebble Beach Pro Am decided in California, the organizers were forced to postpone the fourth round until Monday due to strong wind, rain and for safety reasons.

American Wyndham Clarke, who equaled the course record of 60 strokes in the third round, is one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, with France’s Matthieu Pavon a further stroke back.

* In the local Sunshine Series, the Welshman Rhys Enoch kicked dust in the eyes of the South Africans in the last round of the SDC Open, which was played at the Zebula estate in Limpopo.

Enoch finished one shot behind Wilco Nienaber and Louis Albertse in the final round, but took the lead with three consecutive birdies on the first three holes.

He recorded 66 shots in the final round and finished on 264 shots (-24).

It was an emotional victory for Enoch, who dedicated his victory to one of his father’s best friends who passed away on Friday.

Enoch also had to overcome quite a few injuries in the past two years; this included an operation on his left shoulder.

South Africa’s Martin Rohwer and Deon Germishuys were joint second on 266 (-22) with Dylan Naidoo fourth on 268.

Nienaber finished on 270 strokes and Albertse on 272.

  • Sources: Sunshine Series, European Tour