Frittelli claims first Euro tour victory since 2017

Golf

RIFFA, Bahrain — South African golfer Dylan Frittelli won his first European tour event in more than six years after making three birdies in his last six holes for a 2-stroke victory at the Bahrain Championship on Sunday.

Frittelli started the final round leading by two but was out of first place after playing the first 12 holes in 2-over par. He regrouped with back-to-back birdies on the par 5s at Nos. 13 and 14 and rolled in a 40-footer for birdie at No. 16 to regain his 2-stroke advantage.

He parred the last two holes for a 1-under 71 and finished at 13 under overall for his first win since the Mauritius Open in December 2017. His only other win on the European tour came that year, at the Lyoness Open six months earlier, though he has won since on the PGA Tour at the John Deere Classic in 2019.

That was his rookie season on the PGA Tour, but he struggled there in 2023, missing the cut or withdrawing from 23 of his 27 starts and losing his full playing privileges.

“Last year there were a couple of spots where I felt like giving the game up, to be honest,” said Frittelli, who has fallen to No. 434 in the world rankings. “I was looking for something else.

“I found some resolve at the end of last year, got some good work from my physio and my coaches and trainers, and glad I persevered.”

Frittelli said he felt under pressure throughout his final round and was only comfortable when standing over a 12-footer for birdie at the last, holding a 2-shot lead.

“I was swinging it great all week, and then all of a sudden I couldn’t hit it on the planet in the Sunday round. Glad I managed to have the resolve,” he said.

Jesper Svensson of Sweden (70) and Zander Lombard of South Africa (68) were tied for second place. With Ockie Strydom in a two-way tie for fourth a further 2 strokes back, there were three South Africans in the top five.

The Bahrain Championship is a new tournament on the European tour schedule and the fourth of five straight weeks to start 2024 in the Middle East. The tour was last in Bahrain for the debut of the now-defunct Volvo Tournament of Champions in 2011.

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