Dylan Frittelli could be forgiven a sense of trepidation when he landed in Carinthia for the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda last week.
The South African, who collected his maiden Challenge Tour victory at Jacques Lemans Golf Club on Sunday, last visited Austria 12 months ago when he was disqualified from the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.
Having just turned professional after holing the winning putt to secure his Texas Longhorns college golf team the NCAA Championship title (the most prestigious competition in American college golf), Frittelli travelled from Texas to Austria to play in The European Tour event and embark on an exciting new chapter in his young life.
It didn’t quite work out.
“I flew over from Texas on the Sunday and got Austria on the Monday afternoon,” said Frittelli. “I felt really sick so went to see the doctor straight away, who told me to get to y hotel and just get into bed and don’t come out till I felt better.
“I stayed in the hotel room for a day and a half, went to the course on Wednesday because the tournament started a day early and I felt ok, and managed to shoot even par on the first round.
“So I was inside the cut line and felt alright. Then I went back to the hotel and fell asleep instantly, still in my golf clothes. I woke up about midnight and thought I had set the alarm for the next morning but I had obviously hit the wrong button and didn’t actually set it.
“The next thing I know the hotel room phone is ringing. I answered it and it was my manager who said ‘how are you feeling?’ I said I actually felt great, and he then said ‘so why aren’t you at the golf course?’ I then looked at the clock and saw it was after 1.30pm and that I had missed my tee time. I had slept for 17 hours.
“It was a 48 virus and I felt great after that, but it was one f the most bizarre things I have ever experienced.
“So I have to admit, going to Austria last week I was a little bit worried that there were some bad vibes for me in this country, but that is all gone now – nothing but good vibes now.”
Frittelli will now reap the rewards of Category One Membership of the Challenge Tour, which will allow him to better plan his route to The European Tour vica the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Rankings.
The 23 year old moved from 46th to 12th in the Rankings thanks to his victory at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.
Frittelli took huge satisfaction from his first professional victory in Europe, having won college events in the USA and also tasting victory in his homeland on The Big Easy Tour – the Sunshine Tour’s development circuit.
“This gives me a great opportunity to aim for that European Tour card at the end of the year and you are never going to be unhappy to be collecting good world ranking points as it is an obvious goal to climb that ladder too.
“It’s an exciting time for me – it’s amazing to get my first win in Europe because I had only really played a handful of amateur events here, so to conquer a Challenge Tour event in Europe having won in South Africa and North America is a very significant step up for me.”