Frittelli eagle lifts him to lead of Telkom PGA Championship

Dylan Frittelli chipped in for eagle on the 18th at Country Club Johannesburg on Friday to take a share of the early halfway lead in the R3.75-million Telkom PGA Championship.

The eagle on the 536-metre par-five finishing hole saw him take just 29 strokes on the homeward nine, and, after turning in level-par 36, he finished with a 65 to join 2009 champion Jaco van Zyl atop the leaderboard.

“The chip for eagle was about 12 metres long, and I threw it straight up in the air and then two bounces and it was in! I was pretty ecstatic to seal that,” he said.

“I wasn’t looking too great when I turned level-par, and I knew that if I went a few under through the first holes of my back nine I would have a good chance to go low. I made a hat-trick of birdies on the first three holes and then I was standing on the 18th needing a three to make 29, which was something I have never done before,” he added.

His seven-under-par tour-de-force was one of three 65 recorded in the morning field: Van Zyl shrugged off a bogey on the sixth – his 15th after he started his round on the 10th tee – when he hit his drive into the water, and made eight birdies to go with his opening 67 to be 12-under with Frittelli in the lead.

Merrick Bremner was the other player to sign for a 65, and he, like Van Zyl had to overcome a bogey on his card on his way to second place in the clubhouse at 11-under for the tournament.

Overnight co-leader rookie JP Strydom kept his head after a tough start during which he wasn’t able to pick up any shots in his opening nine, and made a bogey on the fifth, and made four birdies and a bogey on his way in for a two-under 70 to leave him at 10-under for the tournament in fourth place.

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