Centurion - South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli carded a three-under 68 in the opening round of the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club, in California, on Thursday.
The 31-year-old finds himself in a tie for 12th, behind Chile’s Joaquin Niemann who scorched his way to an eight-under 63. Niemann leads by three ahead of Americans Scottie Scheffer, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young and Max Homa in a share of second.
Frittelli made the perfect start to his round with three birdies in a row, before a dropped shot at the par three fourth. He responded with another birdie run, this time two in a row from the seventh. It meant Frittelli made the turn in four-under.
Coming home, Frittelli was unable to find any more gains and dropped his final shot of the day at the par four 15th. Despite his one-over back nine, Frittelli carded a solid opening round which should set him up well for the rest of the event.
If Frittelli holds his position on the leaderboard, he is projected to rise 25 spots to 87th on the FedExCup standings.
The four other South Africans in the field, however, struggled in round one. In fact, Frittelli was the only SA player under par with the next best Branden Grace shooting a two-over 73. Grace lies in tie for 89th and will have his work cut out to make the weekend.
The trio of Erik van Rooyen, Charl Schwartzel and Christiaan Bezuidenhout were in a share of 97th on three-over 74.