Frittelli wins thriller in Mauritius
Mauritius, December 3: Dylan Frittelli of South Africa birdied the first play-off hole to defeat Arjun Atwal of India in a thrilling final day at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Frittelli closed with a four-under-par 67 to finish on 16-under-par 268 which was matched by a battling Atwal, whose 25-foot eagle putt on the last hole hit the side of the cup before spinning past the hole.
Atwal birdied the hole to force extra time but was beaten by the South African’s birdie on 18 as Atwal made par to settle for second place at the €1million (approximately US$1.07 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and European Tour.
Frittelli was full praise for Atwal: “Arjun Atwal – great player, tremendous player. I played with him yesterday and it was one of the most fun rounds I’ve had in recent times. It is good for me to finally win a play-off. It has been three on the European Tour and one on the Sunshine Tour which I’ve lost. I’m proud of the way I played the 18th hole. I hit a good drive there which pretty much sums up the week. Just great ball striking and putting pressure on the rest of the field. Putting held on at the end.”
“The conditions were tricky. It was similar to yesterday. We had a bit of knowledge of how it was going to play like coming off Saturday. I felt comfortable so Saturday definitely prepared me. I made a few crucial decisions. Hitting driver on 10 was big and hitting the green on 14 was huge. Those two were probably the biggest positives for me.
“This is my fifth week and I’ve been to Turkey, Dubai and Hong Kong. I have my fitness trainer with me and he has kept me fit and strong. I’m feeling good. I’m playing the Joburg Open next week and I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully be strong and be in contention on the weekend again.
“This is validation of all the hard work I’ve put in. It means a lot to win today. Some guys might say, ‘oh you won against an easy field in Austria’. Well I’ve won a tri-sanctioned event against a very strong field today.”
The 44-year-old Atwal, who will captain Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM next year, was disappointed to lose in the play-off after holding at least a share of the lead since the opening day where he set a course record 62: “I didn’t know read the line in my second shot (play-off), didn’t hit a good shot and didn’t hit a great putt. Dylan obviously did the right thing and deserves to win. I’m happy with the way played this week but right now I’m just disappointed to lose the tournament.”
“You don’t get many chances especially at my age. I’ll take a lot of positives out of this week but right now I’m really mad. To be honest, I haven’t been in that situation in a while. To be fair, I think I handled myself quite well. The tee shot (play-off) was okay. I still put myself in position to make birdie but I didn’t pull through.”
Popular Frenchman Romain Langasque posted a 67 to finish in third place on 270 while co-overnight leader Louis De Jager of South Africa ended his campaign in fourth place following a 71.
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, a winner on the Asian Tour, posted a 71 to claim a share of fifth place after playing through a wrist injury at the Heritage Golf Club.
I can’t complain with the round. I had no pars in the first five holes. It was a really colourful scorecard but I’m proud with myself with how I grinded it out there. I didn’t give up and I believe I’ve been rewarded with a good result.
The fans were great. Playing with Dylan, I learnt so much from him especially a player with his calibre. It was nice to end this week on a high note. I wish I won but overall it was a good week and I take back a lot of experience.
The dashing Frittelli continued his fine form in a highly a successful 2017 where he won his first European Tour title in Austria in June and finished runner-up thrice. His victory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was his second on the European Tour and first in the new 2018 season.
Did you know?
- It was an eventful day for Frittelli when he broke a four-iron on the par-four sixth hole. His club snapped after hitting it against a tree but the South African recovered nicely by chipping in for par from the edge of the green.
- Frittelli made one bogey in the final round. After 72 holes he only made six bogeys against 18 birdies and two eagles in the tournament.
- This was Frittelli’s first victory in a play-off after two losses on the European Tour and one on the Sunshine Tour.
- His previous best finish in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was 54th in 2016.
- Frittelli will now head to the Joburg Open next week in hopes of securing back-to-back victories.
- This was Atwal’s best finish since he won the 2014 Dubai Open.
- The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will be Atwal’s final event in the 2017 season. In his next tournament, he will captain Team Asia against Team Europe in the 2018 EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
- He moved to 23rd place on the Order of Merit and will safely secure a full Asian Tour card for 2018.
- The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open might also be Tabuena’s final event in 2017. He will return to the Philippines to nurse a wrist injury after playing through the pain barrier today.
Leading final round scores:
268 – Dylan FRITTELLI (RSA) 67 66 68 67, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 62 70 68 68
*Frittelli wins on first play-off hole with a birdie
270 – Romain LANGASQUE (FRA) 67 69 67 67
271 – Louis DE JAGER (RSA) 66 67 67 71
272 – Matthieu PAVON (FRA) 69 68 69 66, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 66 68 67 71
273 – Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 67 68 71 67, Jose-Filipe LIMA (POR) 68 66 69 70
274 – Ockie STRYDOM (RSA) 66 68 73 67, George COETZEE (RSA) 67 71 68 68, Jean-Paul STRYDOM (RSA) 71 69 66 68, Oliver BEKKER (RSA) 67 67 71 69, Joel STALTER (FRA) 67 68 70 69
275 – Jeff WINTHER (DEN) 71 68 72 64, Justin WALTERS (RSA) 68 66 69 72
276 – Darren FICHARDT (RSA) 70 66 70 70, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 69 69 68 70, Laurie CANTER (ENG) 67 66 72 71, Ricardo GOUVEIA (POR) 68 68 68 72
277 – WU Ashun (CHN) 72 68 70 67, Jinho CHOI (KOR) 71 66 70 70
278 – Paul PETERSON (USA) 70 69 70 69, Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) 68 72 69 69, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 70 70 68 70, Neil SCHIETEKAT (RSA) 70 70 68 70, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 68 70 69 71
279 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 68 72 71 68, Andrea PAVAN (ITA) 68 69 73 69, Nico GEYGER (CHI) 71 69 70 69, S.S.P CHAWRASIA (IND) 69 67 73 70, Dean BURMESTER (RSA) 71 70 68 70