Dylan Frittelli is hoping he can build on his long-awaited return to the DP World Tour winner’s circle by continuing South African golf’s good record at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The 33-year-old ended a six-year wait for his third DP World Tour title with a two-shot victory at last week’s Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies.
Frittelli later revealed he contemplated giving up golf during a difficult 2023 as he lost his full playing privileges on the PGA TOUR last season after missing the cut or withdrawing from 23 events.
He now returns to Doha Golf Club for the first time since 2017 with his sights set on becoming the sixth South African to lift the Mother of Pearl trophy since the inception of the Qatar Masters in 1998.
“I remember watching as a kid this tournament,” he said. [Seeing] Retief [Goosen], Ernie [Els] do well.
“I still remember Retief eagling the last hole [to win in 2017], he had a putt from the fringe early morning on a Sunday sometime when I was probably 12-13 years old.
“So, good memories of seeing that stuff on TV.
“I don’t know if there is something in the course conditioning that favours South Africans in some way. We have got a lot of good players from our country anyway so hopefully one of us wins this week.”
South African success in Qatar
- 2003: Darren Fichardt
- 2005: Ernie Els
- 2007: Retief Goosen
- 2015 & '16: Branden Grace
- 2019: Justin Harding
Since taking up a route back onto the DP World Tour for those who finished outside the top 125 on the FedExCup Fall Points List, Fritelli secured two top 20s in his first six starts of the season.
With only five places per event available to players in that category, he was unsure of his spot in fields on the DP World Tour but victory in the Kingdom of Bahrain means he is exempt until the end of the 2025 season.
“It is great to have some security,” added the University of Texas alumnus.
“For a couple of years, I know I can come out here and play any event that I want pretty much. I can plan my schedule pretty much now to have some down time and take some time off.
“It is kind of tough living in America, playing all around Europe, Asia and the Middle East but I can definitely control things a little more now.
“I am excited because now I have the option of [playing in] every tournament on the DP World Tour so I can pick the ones that I really enjoy and build a schedule that complements my game.”
Following his first professional win since the 2019 John Deere Classic on the PGA TOUR, Frittelli sits eighth on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
And ahead of the final event in the Middle East on the International Swing, he is now reaping the rewards for his perseverance.
“Last year in the States I didn’t even have my C game mentally,” he reflected.
“I was really struggling on that side of things so I had to put in a lot of hard work there. Obviously that dovetails with the golf game; the swing, the putting with all the technical stuff too.
“I knew in my head going into that final nine holes that if I could be close with five or six holes I could definitely use my experience and mental toughness to see me to the end.”