(Photo: Getty Images)
Here’s the current leaderboard heading into the final round of the Volvo China Open in Beijing (Euro Tour):
The first name on the board may be one of the last you’d recognize: Dylan Fritelli. 63-64 over the last couple of days to take a 3-shot lead into Sunday. Frittelli’s claim to fame in the golf world currently balances between his 2 Challenge Tour victories and the fact that he played with Spieth at Texas.
OK, OK, I agree. The take that “proximity to Spieth” in younger years is a defining quality of a player is bogus – but it’s not a bad pedigree to be a part of. Neither is playing at Texas or being from the South African golf contingent. Those two clubs offer invaluable support from other past/present/future Tour Stars. Players from around his time at Texas include Cody Gribble, Beau Hossler, aforementioned Spieth, and fellow Euro Tour/South African player Brandon Stone.
The tight-knit South African group that started with Gary Player stretches down through Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, and Trevor Immelmann to other current European Tour regulars like Stone, Jaco Van Zyl, George Coetzee, Dean Burmester and Darren Fichardt.
I don’t know what kind of relationships Frittelli has with these players, but considering that both clubs look after their own, I imagine he has had some support over the last few years of his professional career, especially at times like RIGHT NOW when he is leading going into the final round of a European Tour event.
His friend on Tour, Brandon Stone, has already seen some success with 2 victories in the past year. Frittelli has been trending upwards right behind him, losing in a playoff at the 2015 Australian PGA Champ and winning the Rolex Trophy last year, and event on the European Challenge Tour.
Good luck to Frittelli tomorrow as he tries to capture his maiden title on the European Tour!