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SA’s Dylan Frittelli pushes Rose all the way in Turkey
Antalya — SA’s Dylan Frittelli earned an R8.5m payday with the best round of the day after a thrilling final-round battle pitched him against Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose in the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday.
Frittelli ended his round with a fist pump as he holed out for birdie at the last for a seven-under-par 64, but the spoils went to Justin Rose just eight days after his World Golf Championship HSBC triumph.
The Englishman denied Frittelli and Nicolas Colsaerts from Belgium a stab at a play-off when he also knocked in a birdie putt at the par-four closing hole for a six-under 65.
The 37-year-old Rose sealed victory on 18-under-par 266, leaving Frittelli and Colsaerts, who returned a 66, to share second on 267.
Over four days in Turkey, Frittelli again showed that he is a player of immense stature as he gave an excellent account of himself in one of the premium Rolex Series events on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Having followed a runner-up finish in the Volvo China Open in April with his maiden break-through in the Lyoness Open in Austria in June, the joint second in Turkey propelled the South African from 39th to 18th in the Race to Dubai.
Three chip shots catapulted Frittelli into the thick of things in the final round. He chipped in for birdies at five, six and eight.
"I also chipped in twice in the third round, so something definitely clicked in that department of my game this week," said the 27-year-old. "I played well under pressure all week and hit a lot of shots close."
Rose called Frittelli a ball-striker of the highest calibre after the pair played together in the third round and the South African put his talent show on the back nine on Sunday as he hit three superb approaches inside 10 feet. Each time the birdie putts stayed out, but when he did hole one at the final hole to temporarily lead the field, the gallery roared their approval.
"Dylan definitely has a great head for golf," Rose said. "Whenever he was in trouble on Saturday, he stayed dead calm and he made some brilliant par saves. He is a real talent for the future," he said.
Rose is halfway in his bid to overhaul leader and fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and win the Race to Dubai but he will not be teeing it up in the $7.5m Nedbank Golf Challenge due to family commitments.
Frittelli, however, headed for Sun City on Sunday night. "My aim coming into the end of the Rolex Series was always to try to finish in the top 30 to qualify for all four Majors [in 2018], but if I can maintain this kind of form over the next two weeks, I might even crack the top 10," he said.
George Coetzee will also be taking confidence to the Gary Player Country Club after a final-round 66 moved him into the top 30 on six-under 278.
Haydn Porteous closed with a 72 for 280, Richard Sterne carded 70 for 284, Dean Burmester shot 68 for 286, and Brandon Stone signed off with 76 for 292.