Dylan Fritelli made a massive start to his professional career when he finished sole second at the Telkom PGA Championship in March, reaching 19-under-par around the parklands layout of Country Club Johannesburg.
This week he’ll face another parklands track – Nurtau Golf Club. But he’s in Kazakhstan, on a bad run, and fighting to secure a top-15 spot on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
For his rookie season Frittelli has achieved plenty. He’s ranked 19th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit after playing just five events and picked up a maiden win at the Challenge Tour’s Karnten Golf Open in June.
But the season has become a tale of two halves for Frittelli, who has made only one cut since July.
He's a 23-year-old who has achieved great things from amateur days through to his rookie year, and therein lies the rub. For the first time Frittelli is struggling, and coming to terms with failure is difficult for a young, successful professional.
As a Sandton local Frittelli grew up competing across Gauteng as both a junior and an amateur. The majority of the Highveld courses he played have a parklands layout, and the familiarity of tree-lined fairways in Kazakhstan could spark his return to form.
There’s also the financial aspect to consider at the Kazakhstan Open, which carries a prize fund of €400,000 and is the third wealthiest event on the Challenge Tour schedule.
Three events remain before the top 45 Challenge Tour earners battle it out at the Grand Final. The South African’s Karnten win secured his place at the final, but he’ll need to start collecting some cheques over the coming weeks if he wants a real shot at glory. The top 15 earners from the 2013 Challenge Tour will gain European Tour cards for 2014, and that’s what Frittelli wants.
With huge prize money up for grabs this week on a course that will feel like home, Frittelli has to overcome his demons if he wants to continue trailblazing his way into professional golf.