Dylan Frittelli is quietly confident about his prospects this week as one of eight South Africans in the field looking for a first PGA Championship win since Gary Player in 1972, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
A string of weekends played on the PGA TOUR has the South African-born Texas-educated star in good spirits as the world’s best get ready to tee off on Thursday.
The 28-year-old is enjoying a steady start to life on the biggest tour, and will be hoping that competing on the biggest tour has laid the foundation to kick on in golf’s elite events.
The PGA Championship has seen his best Major performances, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. There’s no time like the present for the two-time European Tour winner, who will have to wait until the day’s final tee time to get under way.
‘I’m feeling good heading into what is a big, exciting week,’ Frittelli told Compleat Golfer.
‘Been hitting it well and have got some cuts under the belt, even though last week in Dallas did not pan out quite like I wanted to. My putting is still lagging behind the rest of my game, but there’s no reason not to feel confident where my game is at right now.’
Much has been written about the nefarious nature of Bethpage Black’s demanding layout, but Frittelli seems unconcerned about it all.
‘A tough course like this will suit me. It’s super long and tough, just like it’s always been really. Looking at the weather, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any more rain, which means Bethpage will be even harder as the championship gets under way. It’ll be firmer, and that’s going to be a real challenge.
‘Looking at what number might win it, it’ll most likely be a single digit score. You know, that’s regardless of how they set it up. There’s just no way to overpower this place. A single digit score is on the cards, even if the course is laid out easy to moderate.
‘These weeks are the ones you look forward to, and it’s more excitement in the air [rather] than getting bogged down by how daunting the course might play.’
South African viewers will be up into the early hours of Friday morning if they want to catch the end of Frittelli’s first round. He starts alongside Kurt Kitayama, the player who replaced him as Mauritius Open champion, with Andrew Filbert completing the three ball at 8:22pm.
Photo: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images