Frittelli flying SA flag after first round at The Open

Frittelli flying SA flag after first round at The Open

South Africa's Dylan Frittelli lines up a putt on the 13th green during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

The 29-year-old is certainly making the best of a last-gasp invitation to the hallowed Major.

South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli carded an opening three-under 68 to share third place in The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club, in Northern Ireland, on Thursday.

Frittelli is the top SA player on the leaderboard, and was two adrift of American JB Holmes who set the pace on five-under 66. Ireland’s Shane Lowry holds second position on four-under 67.

In fact, Frittelli shares third spot with no fewer than 13 other players including world number one Brooks Koepka of America.

The SA player, who was the last man to book his spot in the field courtesy of his victory in the John Deere Classic on the US PGA Tour last week, signed for a round notable for its consistency.

The 29-year-old began his round with seven straight pars before his first gain at the par-4 eighth. His venture into red figures continued on the homeward loop, with birdies at the par-4 11th and par-5 12th. A final birdie would come at the par-4 15th to move to four-under.

A bogey on the 18th would have hurt the two-time European Tour winner, but at just two behind it was an excellent opening effort for the world number 92.

Branden Grace and Erik van Rooyen were the next best SA players in a tie for 20th on one-under 70.

The trio of Louis Oosthuizen, Zander Lombard and two-time Open champion Ernie Els were on level par-71 in a share of 42nd.

Brandon Stone shot a one-over 72 for 55th place, Shaun Norris was a further stroke adrift on two-over 73 in 72nd place, with Christiaan Bezuidenhout on three-over 74 tied for 94th.

Richard Sterne struggled to a seven-over 78 to lie way down in 144th.

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