South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli followed up his maiden PGA Tour win with a strong start at The Open at Royal Portrush on Thursday, writes JOHN GOLIATH.
Frittelli qualified for the year’s final Major with a win at the John Deere Classic last weekend. He then flew out to Northern Ireland later than most players, but managed to shoot a three-under 68 in the first round after going off with the early starters.
Frittelli made a steady start to his round with seven consecutive pars, before finally making a birdie on the 8th to make the turn in 35.
Frittelli then found his groove on the second nine, playing some solid golf as the conditions started to deteriorate. After a par on 10, the former Texas Longhorn birdied the 11th and 12th, before getting to four under after another three at the par-four 15th.
However, a wayward approach shot at the 18th cost him a shot after he couldn’t get up and down from the collection area just off the left side of the green.
Still, his 68 has left him just one shot behind afternoon leader Shane Lowry, who thrilled home fans with a 67.
Branden Grace also made a good start to his tournament when he shot a one-under 70.
The shot-making South African made the turn at even par following a birdie on the fifth and a bogey on the ninth. However, the back nine was a bit more exciting, as he mixed in two dropped shots to go with more three birdies.
Zander Lombard will also be happy with his first round after an even-par start, even though he finished with four bogeys on the card.
However, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (three over par), who recently won the Valderrama Masters, and Richard Sterne (seven over par) will have to go low on Friday if they want to make the cut.