Frit­telli hails Spi­eth for Aus­tria win

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

South Africa’s Dy­lan Frit­telli has lauded the in­flu­ence of his for­mer play­ing part­ner and for­mer world num­ber one, Amer­i­can Jor­dan Spi­eth, for help­ing him win his maiden Euro­pean Tour ti­tle – the Ly­oness Open.

Frit­telli (27) carded six birdies and one bo­gey to fin­ish 12 un­der par and win by one shot at Di­a­mond Coun­try Club in Atzen­brugg, Aus­tria, last Sun­day.

His vic­tory made him the coun­try’s first golfer to lift the tro­phy of the con­test, which is also pop­u­larly known as the Aus­trian Open.

Dy­lan, who is from Wood­mead, north of Jo­han­nes­burg, but cur­rently lives in Texas in the US, where he used to play the game with the twotime ma­jor win­ner Spi­eth, paid trib­ute to the Amer­i­can for his lat­est feat.

“Spi­eth is very close to me since he was my play­ing part­ner while we were at col­lege in Texas,” said Frit­telli. “I met him be­fore the Open and he gave me tips on how to ap­proach the tough Di­a­mond course.”

The golfer, who went to the US in 2008 to pur­sue a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ge­og­ra­phy, said he was glad his golf ca­reer took off well.

“I stud­ied for the same course with Spi­eth and he dropped out from col­lege to fo­cus more on play­ing golf, while I con­tin­ued study­ing there un­til I fin­ished my four-year course and ob­tained a de­gree,” said Frit­telli.

He said he was pleased he was do­ing well on the greens, adding he was grate­ful to Spi­eth for his guid­ance.

Frit­telli, who is at 17th in the Race to Dubai, said he was pleased with his vic­tory as it boosted his chance of qual­i­fy­ing for the Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale Golf Club in South­port in Mersey­side, Eng­land, which runs from July 20 to 23.

“With the cur­rent great show­ing on the greens, I hope to par­tic­i­pate in the Open and win my first ma­jor. My ... per­for­mance should move me up to the Race to Dubai.”

Frit­telli is hop­ing to come back home in Oc­to­ber.

“I will be there to pre­pare to com­pete at the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City. At the mo­ment, I’m en­joy­ing sunny Europe,” he said.

Frit­telli fin­ished sec­ond to Alex Levy at the China Open in Bei­jing in April.

He will be com­pet­ing in the BMW In­ter­na­tional Open in Mu­nich, Ger­many, which starts Thurs­day. “I’m fired up,” he said. Frit­telli is the third lo­cal golfer this season to reg­is­ter a maiden Euro­pean Tour. Bran­don Stone won the Al­fred Dun­hill at Leop­ard Creek in Male­lane in De­cem­ber, while Dean Burmester took the Tsh­wane Open ti­tle at Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club in March.

PHOTO: WAR­REN LIT­TLE / GETTY IM­AGES

SINK­ING A WIN­NER Dy­lan Frit­telli putts dur­ing the fi­nal round at the Ly­oness Open last Sun­day

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