Sunshine Tour

Frittelli goes his own way for Joburg Open

Dylan Frittelli (Getty Images)
Dylan Frittelli (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - When Dylan Frittelli tees off on Thursday on the first tee of the Bushwillow course at Randpark Golf Club in the Joburg Open, he will be seeing the course for the first time.

READ: Freak injury rules Oosthuizen out of Joburg Open

The Joburg Open, normally played on the two courses at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, is at the two courses at Randpark this year as the East Course lets its redesign bed in properly.

And Frittelli is comfortable going onto one of those courses sight unseen.

“I haven’t played Bushwillow yet so I will have that blind, but I have my caddie and yardage book so I’m sure will figure it out and make some birdies,” he said.

That’s a bit of a risk, even for a player who doesn’t seem to follow convention much as he goes about his business - and that kind of risk got him to his second European Tour victory last week when he won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open without a practice round on that course.

Frittelli is happy enough to keep his practicing down to a minimum when he’s on courses he knows, and he’s secure in the knowledge that Firethorn at Randpark will be more familiar.

“I played here as a junior,” he said.

“I played a Foundation event, probably 2006 and then I came back about five or six weeks ago and I have a friend who is a member so I played a round with him on the Firethorn course. So, it’s totally changed since the last time I played it.

“It depends on the golf course. If I’m playing somewhere I have not played, I am going to go two rounds. There were some courses this year on the European Tour that I have never seen; Abu Dhabi I played 36-holes practice rounds. French Open, played 36-holes practice rounds. All those Rolex events, 36-holes before a Thursday.

“So, this is a course I know and I have played before. I know the lines off the tee, so there’s no real need to play. I just need to get my body in shape and hit some balls and know that I’m striking it well, that’s my theory, at least.

“I think some guys maybe lean too much on being familiar with the golf course but for me, if I walk on to that first tee and I’m feeling fresh, ready to go. And I can hit a drive straight down the middle, that’s really all you need. I’ve got faith in my caddie, I’ve got faith in the yardage book and everything is in front of me, I can do it.”

He also raised eyebrows when he used a compass during last week’s tournament in Mauritius.

“Yeah, that one was going a bit crazy on social media,” he laughed.

“I guess guys playing golf don’t tend to read the rule book. I always knew that rule so I just figured last week was a bit tricky with lines off of tees and moving tee boxes up, so the angles on the compass change. We’ve been doing that for the last two weeks: just set the compass on the ground away from the ball and figure out exactly where the wind direction is coming from.”

With the withdrawal of 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen with a freakish finger injury, Frittelli is now the highest ranked player in the 240-man field, at 55th in the world golf rankings.

He’s also the only player who is already exempt into the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie next July.

The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Joburg Open who are not already exempt will earn places in The Open.

The Joburg Open is the second event in The Open Qualifying Series.

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