Frittelli revelling in home conditions for Match Play

Dylan Frittelli is revelling in the advantages of playing from home this week, and he showed it on Thursday with his second successive victory in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.

He followed up his opening 6 & 5 win over Tony Finau in the opening round with a 3 & 2 victory over Jason Kokrak of the United States. Kokrak took a 1-up lead to the back nine but Frittelli won 10 to 12 and closed out the match with a 21-foot eagle putt on the par-five 16th. Frittelli, who was at college in Texas, can guarantee his spot in the 6ound of 16 with a win or tie in his final pool match.

“When you play a course, 10, 20, 30 times you get to know little spots, you get to know pins, you get to know certain breaks on a green, and if you’re a really serious player like I am, you remember those things,” said Frittelli. “So I definitely feel at home knowing the course that way, and certainly does aid me compared to most guys that have only seen it maybe three years at most.

“But it’s more the factors of sleeping in my own bed and feeling comfortable on the roads driving here, and that’s going to aid me in the rest of the week, I’m sure.”

With Kokrak leading at the turn, Frittelli needed all the calmness he could get. “I was really edgy the front nine,” he said. “I’m not sure what it was, just started the round in maybe a bad mental space, a little irritated and edgy and couldn’t really focus. Then through the turn I just had a little talk to myself on the golf cart heading over to the 10th tee and said, just relax, try and get in that space that I was in yesterday, and I flowed, 10th hole made a great birdie there and then seemed to just flow from there through to the 16th when it ended.”

He ended it with an eagle.

Louis Oosthuizen went down 1-up to Matt Kuchar. This turned out to be a pretty wild match; through 15 holes, only four of the holes were tied (including the par-the 11th, where the players tied with doubles). Kuchar missed a short birdie putt at 16 to keep from going 2-up and held Oosthuizen off with pars at the two closing holes.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout lost 2 & 1 to Patrick Reed after tying his opening match with Joaquin Niemann. Reed got off to a fast start – three birdies in his first five holes – and never did let Bezuidenhout back into the match once he won eight and nine and built a 3-up advantage through nine. Reed made four birdies in that opening nine, three of them coming from outside 13 feet. Bezuidenhout twice trimmed his deficit to 2-down, winning with a par when Reed messed up the 12th and making a nice birdie from a bunker at 16. Reed closed out the match with a par at 17.

The other South African, Erik van Rooyen, defeated Harris English 2 & 1. Van Rooyen never trailed, holing a five-footer for birdie to win the first hole and claiming the second after English drove into the penalty area. Van Rooyen was 3-up at the turn and won 11 to 13 to grow his lead to 5-up. English fought back by winning 14 to 16 but it wasn’t enough. Only five of the 17 holes were halved, including just one on the back nine.

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