It was only a matter of time before Dylan Frittelli claimed his first European Tour title. His time came in Austria.
The former University of Texas player claimed his maiden European Tour win with a one-shot victory in the $1.1 million Lyoness Open. The 27-year-old South African returned a closing 5-under-par 67 to overcome a two-shot deficit and claim the $187,576 first place prize.
Frittelli took advantage of Felipe Aguilar’s stumble down the stretch to take the title. The veteran Chilean began the final round with a two-shot advantage over the field, but struggled to a 3-over-par 75 and finished T-10.
Fellow South African Jbe Kruger, David Horsey of England and Finn Mikko Korhonen shared second place at 11 under. They earned $83,481 each.
Frittelli, who played with Jordan Spieth at Texas, made six birdies and dropped just one shot in his 67. He took the outright lead on the 11th hole when his fifth birdie of the round moved him to 12 under. He bogeyed the 14th but got the shot back at the 16th. He made a good par save at 17 before a regulation par on the last.
“I was just trying to get it on the green (on 18), make a par and avoid a playoff,” said Frittelli, who lost playoffs in the 2016 Australian PGA Championship and this year’s Volvo China Open.
“My 0-2 record in playoffs is not very good, so I didn’t want to have extra guys in the playoff. Trying to beat them there on the 18th would have been tough.
“Five years ago I played this tournament on an invite and managed to miss my second round tee-time, so I’d like to think this is a role-reversal here and culmination of the hard work I’ve done in between those two periods.
“Hopefully this means big things for my career, get me in the Open Championship, move up in the Race to Dubai and open up some more doors further down the road.”
The victory takes Frittelli to 12th on the European money list. He can earn a spot into the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale if he’s in the top five of the European Tour order of merit after the BMW International Open, which ends on June 25.
The Johannesburg native seems to have a special fondness for Austria. He won the 2013 Kärnten Golf Open in Austria, one of two European Challenge Tour victories.
Expect Frittelli to go for his PGA Tour card this year. He was a first-team All-American at Texas and obviously feels at home on U.S. courses.