5 November 2017

South Africa: Frittelli's 66 Keeps Him in Touch At Turkish Open

As Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat vied for domination in the Turkish Airlines Open on Saturday, Dylan Frittelli quietly played his way into the top seven at the $7-million showpiece in Turkey.

For a second successive day, he toured around the par 71 layout at the Regnum Golf and Spa Resort in flawless fashion, and a five-under par 66 moved the 27-year-old South African within striking distance of the leaders at 14-under.

At 10-under, he is four back from Lowry and Aphibarnrat, who fired respective rounds of 65 and 66 to replace overnight leader Nicolas Colsaerts in the lead. The lanky Belgian golfer gave four shots back to the field on the back nine, and a 73 saw him finish at 12-under alongside Justin Rose from England and Irishman Padraig Harrington.

Frittelli has played in some esteemed company over the last two rounds - Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood in Friday's second round and Olympic gold medallist Rose on Saturday - and believes they have had a positive influence on his performance.

'Any time you play with guys of that calibre you lift your game even more,' he said. 'That's what you compete for, the chance to play with Major champions and the best players in the world.

'I want my game to be up there with those guys and I believe it's going to happen. Justin is a class act and with him being from South Africa, it was fun playing and chatting with him. As for Sunday, the leaderboard is tightly stacked and I'm in the mix, so we'll have to see what happens.'

The South African has now gone 40 holes without a bogey, but Frittelli was quick to point out that his solid effort in the third round was down to good course management, rather than ball striking and putting.

'The tee shots were not the greatest, but I kept the ball in play,' said this year's Lyoness Open winner.

'You don't want to hit it in the hazards or in the tough spots where you're guaranteed to drop a shot. You need to hit it in the right spots, and I did that well. My course management was good.

'I missed the 10th fairway again, but this time I had just over 200 yards to the hole and a lot more trees in the way. John (Curtis - caddie) didn't want me to go for it, but I could see it. I took a four-iron and just went for the shot. Made the up-and-down for par, but it was a very scary.

'I missed the 11th to the right as well, but I saved a lot of pars. I hit it close all day and gave myself a lot of chances, but the putter just didn't show up. I misread a couple; not sure what it was, but I'll work with the putter this evening and hopefully find something for the last round.'

Of course, making two spectacular chip-ins from off the green - one for birdie and one for eagle - also helped.

'I haven't chipped in for more than a year, and today I did it twice,' said Frittelli with a laugh. 'I think the first one I chipped in at the third is a contender for the European Tour's Shot of the Month.

'I really hope they got it. I holed a really tough 15-metre shot out of the rough. At the 12th I couldn't go for the pin because the flag was just behind a bunker on the front of the green, so I laid up just a little short and left. I chipped and in it went.'

Compatriot Haydn Porteous shot 69 to tie for 27th on five-under 208, George Coetzee carded 70 to finish at one and Richard Sterne fired a 67 to move to one-over.

A 72 moved Brandon Stone to 216 and Dean Burmester signed for a 70 to finish at five-over 218.

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