One of the countryÂs top amateurs, Dylan Frittelli, who turns professional this week in the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany, will return to South Africa to play some Sunshine Tour events.
ÂAfter playing in the PGA TourÂs Q-School and the European TourÂs Q-School, IÂll definitely be coming home to see my parents and family, and I want to play in the Sunshine Tour tournaments in December and January,Â he said.
Frittelli won the Freddie Tait trophy for leading amateur at the 2009 South African Open Championship, and the University of Texas senior has decided to Âtake the next logical step in the process of becoming a better playerÂ by giving up his amateur status.
ÂThis all about progressing,Â he said. ÂI have to move on to the next stage of my career.Â
While he is playing his first tournament as a professional, it wonÂt be his first professional tournament, he explains: ÂI played in four South African Open Championships as well as two Joburg Opens and the Vodacom Championship while I was an amateur, so IÂm not unfamiliar with playing with professionals.Â
However, he does note that, while golf may be the same game for amateurs and professionals, the consequences of good or bad play are brought into sharper relief as a professional. ÂItÂs still just golf, but I guess if itÂs your living thatÂs at stake, things are different,Â he said.
Frittelli, 22, played a lot of his amateur golf in South Africa with Branden Grace and George Coetzee, and, while he says he wants to follow in the footsteps of South AfricaÂs elder golfing statesmen Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, he acknowledges the inspiration drawn from the younger South African players currently doing so well.
ÂIt was great to see Branden and George in the US Open last week,Â he said. ÂI wasnÂt surprised to see Branden break through this year, because he was always the guy who could make birdies, and George, well, he just keeps on going.Â
Frittelli spent four years at the University of Texas, and his time there was crowned with the Byron Nelson Award, and honour he shared with Georgia TechÂs James White. The award, given by the Golf CoachesÂ Association of American in conjunction with Cleveland Golf/Srixon, honours the pair for their character, scholarship, playing record and citizenship.
He finished his college career ranked third on the final individual college rankings.
He won the 2008 South African Boys Championship and was ranked number one on both the South African Amateur rankings and South African Junior Rankings before heading to the United States on a golf scholarship. His college career was littered with accolades and awards, culminating at the NCAA Championships when he sunk a 30-foot birdie putt to win the NCAA Championships for the Texas Longhorns at Riviera Country Club two weeks ago. Through his senior year Frittelli earned First Team All-American status.
ÂI had an amazing experience at college developing both my golf and myself and now I feel I am ready for life as a professional golfer and canÂt wait to get started,Â he said.