6 November 2017

South Africa: Oh So Close As Frittelli Takes Second in Turkey

A late masterclass by England's Justin Rose forced Dylan Frittelli into a share of second place at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday.

It took the entire afternoon around a cloudy Regnum Golf Resort and Spa to determine the winner of the sixth Rolex Series event, and the storyline unfolded to a wonderful exhibition of golf with as many as nine players coming within a stroke on the back nine, reports Compleat Golfer's Wade Pretorius.

Unfortunately for South African interests, a Johannesburg-born golfer prevailed, but not the one that plays under the Rainbow Nation's flag as Rose pipped Frittelli thanks to three birdies in the last four holes.

The early action was all Frittelli's as he made five straight birdies, including a staggering three chip-ins in four holes in that stretch. Remarkable when you think the 27-year-old chipped in twice on Saturday to end a year-long wait for some off the green magic.

And when the eyes of the European Tour were upon him, Frittelli hardly put a foot (or swing) wrong.

Out in 29, Frittelli found the water on the 10th, but limited the damage to a single drop by scrambling in a bogey before another great chip on the 12th meant he could tap in his sixth birdie of the day.

The test that followed would be whether the Lyoness Open winner could for the first time this week make a birdie - or more - on the final six holes; something made harder by the fact that the chasing pack swelled to four at one point, with Nicolas Colsaerts and Padraig Harrington joining in on the fun.

After giving himself good chances at 12 and 13, Frittelli finally got a red number on the board on the inward stretch as he two-putted for birdie on the 15th to edge in front. It would be a brief stint in the solo lead as Rose joined him moments later, he too, displaying a good touch from behind the green.

Frittelli followed with two pars and was suddenly overtaken by both Rose (birdies at 15 and 16), and Colsaerts, who made three in a row from the 15th.

Playing the last, one shot behind in one of the most high-profile events all season, the South African roared in his birdie try to get to 17-under and level with Rose and Colsaerts, both behind him on the fairway.

Neither blinked as they set up putts for the win or at least a playoff on 18-under. Rose putted first to heap the pressure on Colsaerts, who has not won in over five years. The Belgian's remarkable comeback - he shot 41 on the back nine on Saturday - did not continue beyond the 72nd hole as his putt slipped past, allowing Rose to grab the headlines.

For Rose, who won in bizarre fashion last week in China, it was a second win in as many weeks as he blew the Race to Dubai wide open, getting within a few hundred thousand Euros of season-long leader Tommy Fleetwood, with two events left.

There is some good news for Fleetwood because as it stands Rose isn't due to make the journey to the country of his birth for the Nedbank Golf Challenge starting on Thursday.

Although, after the past two weeks, he may just be checking in with his travel agent of choice.

After the fortnight he's had, you could hardly blame him.

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