JOHANNESBURG – Dylan Frittelli won his first playoff as a professional to take the Mauritius Open title at Heritage Golf Club on Sunday.
The 27-year-old finished regulation play in 16-under-par after a closing round of four-under-par 67, and watched as the man who had led throughout, Arjun Atwal of India, lipped out with an eagle attempt on 18 which would have snatched victory from the South African’s grasp.
In the end, Atwal’s birdie forced the playoff, and Frittelli ripped a drive down the 18th fairway in the first trip down the par-five in sudden death to set up a birdie which gave him the edge.
He lost two playoffs on the European Tour (in Perth and in Shanghai) and once in the Eye of Africa PGA Championship back in February. It was Frittelli’s second win on the European Tour.
“It’s good for me to finally win a playoff,” said Frittelli. “I’m proud of the way I played the 18th hole in the playoff. I hit a good drive there, which pretty much sums up the week – just great ball-striking and putting pressure on the rest of the field. And the putting held on at the end.”
Frittelli joked that he had made too many two-putts after he had won, but the reality was that in gusty breezes, his putting – especially from within three feet under pressure – was nerveless throughout the week.
And, from long range, he had a few graze the hole on Sunday which may well have vaulted him well clear of any opposition instead of seeing him having to get through sudden-death.
“I made a few crucial decisions,” said Frittelli. “Hitting driver on 10 was big and hitting the green on 14 was huge. Those two were probably the biggest positives for me.
“The conditions were tricky. It was similar to yesterday. We had a bit of knowledge of how it was going to play like coming off Saturday. I felt comfortable so Saturday definitely prepared me.”
His 2018 quest is not quite over. The win in Mauritius will take him close to the top 50 in the world, and he wants to get inside that mark to secure his spot in the 2018 major championships and other important tournaments.
So it’s on the road again for him. “I’m playing the Joburg Open next week and I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be strong and be in contention on the weekend again.”
African News Agency (ANA)