Golf 12.6.2017 03:30 pm

New local golf hero Dylan Frittelli ain’t no j(ch)oke anymore

Dylan Frittelli is a man on the rise. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images.

Dylan Frittelli is a man on the rise. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images.

The 27-year-old overcame an embarrassing past in the Lyoness Open and a recent disappointment to claim his first European Tour win.

Dylan Frittelli is one of South Africa’s new golfing heroes after he notably won the Lyoness Open in Austria at the weekend by one shot.

Some say it was only a matter of time before the 27-year-old Johannesburg native before he would claim a maiden title on the European Tour.

But to understand how important this triumph is, two pertinent incidents need to be taken into consideration.

Frittelli, who went to varsity in the US at the University of Texas with World No 6 Jordan Spieth, had a somewhat embarrassing history in this tournament.

“Five years ago I played this tournament on an invite and managed to miss my second round tee-time,” he told Sky Sports.

In an orderly sport like golf, that’s a cardinal sin.

It also meant he was disqualified.

“I’d like to think this is a role-reversal here and culimnation of the hard work I’ve done.”

While that mishap was probably forgotten already even before this year’s edition kicked off, Frittelli had another demon to exorcise.

Just over a month ago, he held a three-shot lead going into the final round of the China Open.

That was increased to five when his nearest rival bogeyed his first two holes.

However, Frittelli lost his grip on the lead when he hit a tree and dropped two shots.

With Sweden’s Alexander Levy catching up, Frittelli still had a chance on the 18th to clinch victory but his second shot flew over the hospitality tent.

He subsequently lost the play-off.

On Sunday, Frittelli was two shots of the pace going into the final round.

It suited him perfectly.

He birdied three of his first four holes and hit a magnificent second shot at the 18th to secure his win.

“It’s amazing,” said Frittelli.

“My 0-2 record in playoffs is not very good so I didn’t want to have extra guys in the playoff – trying to beat them there on the 18th would have been tough. Hopefully this means big things for my career. I hope it gets me in the Open Championship, moves me up in the Race to Dubai and open up some more doors further down the road.”

More importantly, the sour of the past has been sweetened.

Fellow South African Jbe Kruger finished in a three-way tie for second.

He hit a superb eagle on the 12th.

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