South Africa's Dylan Frittelli plays out of a bunker during the second round of the Scottish Open last week. Photo: Craig Brough/Reuters

CARNOUSTIE – Dylan Frittelli is hoping his persistent play in recent weeks will see him, and a host of South Africans, in contention in The Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links starting on Thursday.

A total of 12 South Africans are set to tee it up in The Open - only Louis Oosthuizen is a doubt as he is struggling with a neck injury - and Frittelli was optimistic about the chances of his countrymen.

“There are 12 [SA] guys in the field - that’s really awesome,” said Frittelli on Tuesday.

“I just saw Jovan [Rebula] now, and he seems pretty excited. I haven’t really caught up with most of the guys, but it’s almost 10 percent of the field if you look at it that way. So it’s a good thing to be surrounded by a lot of South Africans.” 

The 20-year-old amateur Rebula will be teeing it up in his first Open after winning The Amateur Championship in Ireland last month. The rising star is the nephew of four-time major winner Ernie Els who is also in the field.  

The number-four SA player in the field, Frittelli, has found form in the last three weeks with two top-15s and a tie for 23rd last week at the Scottish Open.

Despite playing in just his second Open as a professional, the 28-year-old was in confident mood on Tuesday after a practice round and some fine-tuning on the range.

“I just want to get in contention. That’s been the plan the last three weeks. I was in touch in the last three events, but never really featured come Sunday. I’d like to be four or five shots [or less] back after Friday and then I’ll be happy.

“I wanted to play as many rounds as I could coming in here. I made three cuts in a row, I played two links courses which I haven’t played a lot on so it was good experience right before The Open. Hopefully I can go into Thursday with a lot of confidence and get some good results this week."

Dylan Frittelli (right) during his practice round at Carnoustie. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)
Dylan Frittelli (right) during his practice round at The Open at Carnoustie. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

Frittelli has some experience on the course having played two Dunhill Links tournaments at the venue. 

“I know what to expect layout-wise. Obviously, the conditions are different. The course is a lot more firm, and The Open setup is a little different with all the grandstands right now.

“I played nine holes this morning on the front nine. I played with Retief [Goosen] and Stewart Cink, I played the back nine yesterday. So that’s me done with the prep for the week, tomorrow I’ll just chip and putt. The course is good, nice and firm, and the rough is not too long.”

Again, Frittelli mentioned his resiliency and how it would serve him well during the gruelling test The Open Championship was sure to serve. 

“I think I’m pretty resilient and consistent throughout my game. I feel like I can play well around here, I have a good caddie on the bag. It’s just a matter of executing on Thursday. 

“I hit a lot of irons off tees today, so did Retief and Stewart. There may be a couple guys that take on the odd bunker or crazy line, but very few guys will be able to do that the way the wind is blowing. If the wind switches directions it may change the way you play a few holes.” 

African News Agency (ANA)

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