Frittelli on track for Glacier SA Amateur glory

Dylan Fritelli DURBAN (4 March 2008) – South African number one Dylan Frittelli (pictured on the right) holed a 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th to beat Johan du Buisson in the feature match of the first round of the Glacier SA Amateur Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club on Tuesday.

Frittelli had to draw on some of his best golf early on in the championship and against the other tournament favourite on a day when some big names failed to get past the first round.

South African international MJ Daffue fell 4 and 3 to Steven Paine, and Dean O’Riley, ranked second in the country and the winner of the KwaZulu-Natal Open earlier this year, was beaten 1up by Stephen Swanepoel.

But South African Stroke Play champion Jacques Blaauw beat Mark Fensham 2 and 1, and Derik Ferreira beat Dolf van Wyk 4 and 3. Adrian Ford, ranked third in the country, enjoyed a comfortable 5 and 4 win over Hugo Malan, while world number 27 and 2006 SA Amateur champion Nigel Edwards won 5 and 4 against Dylan Docherty.

With no significant wind to trouble the field, the match between Frittelli and Du Buisson was clearly the highlight of the first round.

The two tournament favourites halved seven holes on the first nine and won one each to turn all square. They both halved holes 10 and 11, and then Du Buisson took the 12th. But Frittelli’s birdie at 14 brought them back to all square again. On the par-three 15th, both holed eight-foot putts for par to set up a tense finish.

Frittelli took the 16th hole with a 15-foot putt for par, and Du Buisson responded with an eight-footer for birdie at the next to see them all square coming up the par-five 18th.

From the back of the green, Frittelli then rolled in his 40-footer for eagle to win the match 1up.

“I was hoping for an easy first round match and then I saw Johan’s name next to mine on the draw,” said Frittelli, the 2007 World Junior champion.

“We were very even on the front nine and then the back nine was a bit more tight. But luckily that putt fell on the last. To get through such a tough first round match with a win is a big boost for me. I didn’t play as well as I wanted and my iron play wasn’t that great. But this is a big hurdle I’ve overcome.”

Frittelli will now face Paine in the second round on Wednesday morning. Paine enjoyed a bit of good fortune in his 4 and 3 victory over Daffue, scoring a hole-in-one on the par-three 11th on his way to winning against one of the favourites.

“I hit a gap wedge and it bounced once and then spun sideways into the hole. We were all square at that stage and then I went two up, so that was a definite turning point,” he said.

Edwards also kept his challenge on track with his 5 and 4 win over Docherty. “It wasn’t as easy as it looked. I holed good putts at the right time and although I didn’t hit it great, I kept the ball in play so was able to score,” he said.

Royal Durban’s club champion Jared Harvey beat 1994 Welsh amateur champion Craig Evans 2up, and Louis Calitz, who led the qualifying, kept up his good form with a 3 and 2 victory over Lyle Rowe.

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