SILVIS – Dylan Frittelli closed with a 7-under-par 64 on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour title by winning the John Deere Classic.
Frittelli, a 29-year-old South African who attended the University of Texas, finished at 21-under 263 to beat hard-charging Russell Henley by two shots. Henley climbed 23 spots on Sunday by firing a career-low 10-under 61 to finish solo second.
“Wow, it’s awesome,” Frittelli said. “I watched this tournament as a kid, didn’t know much about it besides that it’s a really low-scoring event. … But now to have won it, I don’t know, still sinking in. Feels awesome.”
Frittelli earned the final spot at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, which begins Thursday. And the victory gets him a two-year extension on his PGA Tour card.
“Yeah, that’s huge. I’d obviously won on The European Tour, but my exemption was running out at the end of this year,” he said. “All this stuff has been going through my mind the last four to eight weeks and … you just have to play golf and try to put it in the background.”
Third-round co-leader Andrew Landry shot a 69 that included a birdie at No. 18 to finish alone in third at 18 under. Collin Morikawa and Chris Stroud were one stroke back, tied for fourth. Morikawa, a 22-year tour rookie, has posted back-to-back top-5 finishes.
Frittelli, in his 33rd start on the tour, began the day tied for fifth, two shots off the pace, but he made an early move with birdies on the first three holes. His bogey-free round included seven birdies, including a chip-in at No. 10 and an 11-foot putt at the par-5 17th.
“I don’t want to say it was easy out there,” Frittelli said. “It just felt a whole lot easier than it has been the last few weeks.”
He tied for 46th in each of the past two weeks and had missed the cut in two of his past five events.
Henley made 10 birdies and closed with a 30 on the back nine en route to the lowest final-round score in John Deere Classic history.
“Everybody’s so good out here, you have to keep making birdies and keep making birdies,” Henley said. “When you make bogeys or doubles like I have this week, you just have to keep fighting. If you get down on yourself like I’ve done a lot in my career, it never ends in a good result.”
Cameron Tringale, the other third-round co-leader, stumbled to a 2-over 73 that included five bogeys. He tied for 16th at 14 under.
Four golfers tied for sixth at 16 under — Charles Howell III, Vaughn Taylor, Nick Watney and Adam Schenk.
The field was limited because most of the top players were in Europe preparing for The Open Championship. The John Deere Classic provided a charter flight to players traveling to The Open on Sunday night.
–Field Level Media