Dylan Frittelli believes so much in the history and tradition of the South African Open that he goes as far as to say he wouldn’t feel his career would be complete without adding his name to the trophy of the second oldest national Open in golf.
“I’ve won on the European Tour and on the PGA Tour, and if I don’t win the South African Open, it’s definitely going to be something that I’ll feel like I haven’t accomplished in my career,” Frittelli said ahead of his appearance in the 110th edition of the national Open at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City this week.
Frittelli returns to South Africa shortly after his tied fifth finish in The Masters to support the South African Swing of the Sunshine Tour and European Tour, and in particular this tournament which is jointly supported by Nedbank and Sun International. The field includes last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship winner Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who finished second in the 2016 South African Open. Sun City also welcomes former South African Open champions Branden Stone, Richard Sterne, James Kingston and Hennie Otto, as well as young South African star Jayden Schaper who has had two top-20 finishes in his last two Sunshine Tour and European Tour co-sanctioned tournaments.
But Frittelli believes the fact that the South African Open is being played at the Gary Player Country Club for the first time in its history gives him one of his best opportunities to join the list of greats who have won this title.
“The South African Open is the one I want to win. I used to watch the South African Open as a kid and I remember a bunch of them. I definitely remember the duel between Ernie Els and Retief Goosen at Fancourt in 2005.
“When I knew it was coming here to Sun City, I thought that was good for me because I’ve done well here in a few Nedbank Golf Challenges. This is also a ball striker’s course which seems to favour me. So I’m really excited.”
After a practice round on Tuesday to acquaint himself with the nines that have been swapped for this year’s tournament, allowing the par-five ninth to serve as the finishing hole this week, Frittelli is even more excited about his chances.
“The course looks really good, and the heat’s going to be a factor this week for sure. My game is feeling good. I got rid of the jetlag last week. I’m healthy and feeling fresh, so I’m really looking forward to this week.”
Both Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell and Ardglass professional Cormac Sharvin are also in the field for their third and final event of the South African swing. Caldwell will hope to bounce back from a missed cut last week at Leopard Creek where Sharvin banked his biggest cheque of the season with a top-25 result at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
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