JOHANNESBURG – Despite falling out of a share for the lead late in his second round at The Open on Friday at Royal Portrush Golf Club, in Northern Ireland, South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli says he will be going all out for the win if he’s in contention over the weekend.
Frittelli stood on the 17th tee in the second day tied for the lead on eight-under, but a double-bogey, bogey finish dropped him back to five-under overall as he signed for a round of 69 in tie for eighth and wondering what could have been.
The 29-year-old Frittelli won the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour last week to book the very last spot in the field for The Open.
Winning a Major had not even crossed his mind until this week, and Frittelli said he welcomed the new challenge.
“I'm going to give tomorrow a go. If I can hang around the lead tomorrow, I'll put my head down and do the same on Sunday, and look up at the leaderboard with a few holes to go on Sunday and if I'm in contention, you know I'm going to be gunning for it,” said Frittelli.
Winning on the PGA Tour could well turn out to be a watershed moment for Frittelli with his playing privileges secured for the next two seasons.
That relief, in addition to a fresh mental approach, will serve him well as he begins his quest to remain in contention for the oldest championship in golf over the next two days.
“I was stressed trying to keep a card in America for the last month or two and I dwelled on that too much. I just tried to simplify it and not focus on those negative aspects.
“The sports psychologist said, Hey, just go out there and have fun. Think back to when you were a kid putting on the putting green when you were 12 or 13-years-old and you made everything, and just think of that. It sounds simple to do, but it's tough to train yourself out of it.
“You get in these big moments with crowds and leaderboards, and you feel a certain way. If you keep feeling that certain way that replicates itself over time. I managed to snap myself out of those negative thoughts and feeling pressure.”
American JB Holmes and Ireland’s Shane Lowry led on eight-under heading into the weekend. English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood were a further stroke adrift on seven-under.
One shot ahead of Frittelli is Justin Harding who fired a superb second-round six-under 66.
Among the morning starters, Harding moved up 37 spots into a share of fifth on six-under overall following his opening level par 71 for a share of fifth.
Erik van Rooyen was on four-under overall following rounds of 70 and 68 for tied-12th place.
Two-time Open champion Ernie Els rolled back the years with rounds of 71 and 69 to head into the weekend on two-under overall in 25th spot. The ‘Big Easy’ will be more than pleased to make the cut at the age of 49, as he still remains the last SA player to win a Major with his victory in the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Branden Grace carded rounds of 70 and 71 for a one-under total and a share of 32nd.
Another former Open champion (2010), Louis Oosthuizen made the cut with rounds of 70 and 72 to finish even par and tied-47th at the halfway stage.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (74 71) on three-over, Brandon Stone (72 75) on five-over, Zander Lombard (71 77) on six-over, Shaun Norris (73 76) on seven-over won’t make the projected cut of one-over.
Richard Sterne also missed the cut, struggling with rounds of 78 and 73 to finish on nine-over.
African News Agency (ANA)