Frittelli battles Texas wind to lead Western Refining
EL PASO, Texas – Players competing in the 37th annual Western Refining All-America Classic experienced a little bit of everything the El Paso climate has to offer on day one. The 27-player field experienced calm, sunny weather at times, to go along with strong, cool wind gusts that caused several players to pause for several minutes while waiting to putt.
Texas senior Dylan Frittelli managed the elements and his game the best, and was one of only two players to post sub-70 rounds. He will take a single-shot lead into the final round.
“My wedges were pretty good,” said Frittelli. “I felt like my putting was better, but it was probably more of a result of me hitting hit closer to the hole.”
Frittelli, who is ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, posted an afternoon 67 to go along with his morning-round 69 to sit at 6-under 136 and lead Missouri’s Jace Long by one shot. Alabama’s Cory Whitsett is another shot back and alone in third place.
However, a decision on the par-5 13th hole kept Frittelli from possibly having a bigger lead.
“I made one major mistake today,” he said. “I tried to go for the green from the green in two from about 300. I tried to use the wind to chase it up there and turned it over and it went out of bounds and made double.”
Long matched Frittelli’s afternoon 67 with a very consistent day. The Missouri junior, who has won six of his last 13 collegiate starts, made just two bogeys to go along with seven birdies.
“It was just fun all day,” said Long. “It was a good golf course for me and once putts started falling it got me going and I was able to build some confidence from that.
Long may have the most to gain in this week’s All-America Classic. Long, who has more collegiate victories than any player in the field aside from Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter (Division II), is hoping to maybe move his name into that upper level of All-Americans.
“I looked at it as a chance to jump from one level to the next, but just trying to do the best I can and pay well,” said Long.
This week’s field includes two past All-America Classic champions. The University of San Diego’s Alex Ching won last year while Alabama’s Hunter Hamrick won in 2009. Hamrick opened with a 67 and led after 18 holes, but a second-round 74 left the Alabama senior in a tie for sixth place. Ching posted rounds of 75 and 74 and is tied for 23rd.