Frittelli's mindset helps him finish off John Deere Classic win
July 15, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Dylan Frittelli's Round 4 highlights from John Deere
The John Deere Classic has a knack for bringing out the young talent in the game and so it was again in 2019 although 29-year-old Dylan Frittelli must feel ancient against the backdrop of the other early 20-somethings flooding into the game.
Welcome to the Monday Finish where Frittelli showed the great skills of a winner, skills honed since sinking the winning putt in the 2012 NCAA Championships and winning elsewhere around the world before his breakthrough in the USA.
1. The journey can be hard but ultimately part of the reward. When you are the guy who sinks the championship winning putt at the 2012 NCAA Championships for the Texas Longhorns and then watches as your younger teammates Jordan Spieth and Cody Gribble win on the PGA TOUR before you, you can be sure you have high expectations of yourself. And as it has been for South African Dylan Frittelli. While his path has had some serious highs with wins on the European Challenge Tour and the European Tour proper Frittelli had been stuck in the gap on TOUR for the guys who do great on the Korn Ferry Tour but can’t quite push it up a notch on the PGA TOUR. It looked like he might be one of those guys who would need to fight for his card each year and likely have some yo-yo years until it all clicked this weekend. The key? His mindset – or “mental clarity” as he put it. It takes a special player to see a number posted well in front of you and still stay on task to make sure you best it. Frittelli showed great poise and skill to have a seven birdie Sunday. Incredibly he had just one bogey all week. Read about his incredible journey to becoming a TOUR winner here.
2. Russell Henley almost pulled off an incredible win but sill settle for a trip to the FedExCup Playoffs. The three-time PGA TOUR winner was staring down the barrel of heading to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in a bid to regain his full status for next season. At 165th in the FedExCup, Henley came to the John Deere Classic off four straight missed cuts and hadn’t recorded a top 10 since July of 2018. But his incredible 10-under 61 on Sunday was a career low and the lowest final round in tournament history. He set the clubhouse lead early, knocking off many other potential challengers on his way. Ultimately he would settle for a runner-up result, moving up 24 spots on the leaderboard having started the final round seven shots off the pace. He improved to 83rd in the FedExCup and will now be part of the FedExCup Playoffs.
3. Viktor Hovland is a star in the making, but he got a first-hand lesson that every shot counts on the PGA TOUR. The U.S. Amateur champion has been very impressive during the year, becoming the low amateur at both the Masters and U.S. Open before turning pro and playing nicely on the TOUR. A couple of T13 results leading into the John Deere Classic had him in range of replicating fellow young guns Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa by taking a short cut to the TOUR next season via non-member FedExCup points earned in his seven allowable sponsor invite starts. But a 72nd hole bogey on Sunday has proven costly in his quest. With his last allowable sponsor start to come at the Wyndham Championship in a few week’s time, Hovland needed a top-10 at TPC Deere Run to get a start at next week’s Barbasol Championship. His final hole bogey dropped him one shot back of that mark. Now he will need to play extremely well at the Wyndham. Regardless, he will be one to watch at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Read more about his efforts this week here.
4 Zach Johnson is in unfamiliar territory and at a crossroads. The reality is father time is undefeated and at 43 Johnson is in the back nine of his PGA TOUR career. But the 12-time PGA TOUR winner could be on the theoretical 12th hole, or the 17th. We hope it’s the 12th. Johnson’s incredible run of 41 rounds at par or better in the John Deere Classic stopped with an opening 1-over 72 at TPC Deere Run but he rebounded with three straight rounds in the 60s. Those rounds gave him positive vibes as he heads to The Open Championship, the last tournament he won back in 2015. At 141st in the FedExCup Johnson is in danger of missing the FedExCup Playoffs for the very first time. Here are his thoughts.
5 Collin Morikawa will be fun to watch on the PGA TOUR next season. He might not have done what Matthew Wolff did – win – but Morikawa has announced himself a star of the future. Having secured special temporary membership leading into the John Deere Classic thanks to a runner-up to Wolff at the 3M Open, Morikawa doubled down with an impressive T4 finish. On Sunday Morikawa was perfect in terms of hitting greens in regulation and in fact missed just four greens over the final three rounds. If his non-member FedExCup points total more than the man who finishes 125th in the FedExCup next month he will have a TOUR card next season. With 456 non-member points already, this is a lock given it would currently have him placed 88th with just three weeks of the regular season to go.
1. With his win Frittelli moved to 48th in the FedExCup standings and to 26th in the International Team Presidents Cup standings.
2. Frittelli was second in the field in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (+4.842) and also Strokes Gained: Putting (+7.461). He needed just 108 putts for the week (28, 26, 27, 27). Frittelli was also 10th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+3.069).
3. Frittelli became the ninth player to win in his first John Deere Classic start and first since Sean O’Hair in 2005. Is the 23rd player to make the John Deere Classic his first PGA TOUR win and second in as many years. And is the second South African to win the John Deere Classic after David Frost won in 1992 and 1993.
4. Frittelli made 22 birdies, his career-most in a PGA TOUR event, beating his 21 from the recent Rocket Mortgage Classic. He had just one bogey all week, on the par-4 1st in round 2.
5. Becomes the third consecutive, first-time winner on the PGA TOUR, joining Nate Lashley (Rocket Mortgage Classic) and Matthew Wolff (3M Open). This marks the first time the PGA TOUR has produced three first-time winners in a row since 2017 (Patrick Cantlay – Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; Patton Kizzire – Mayakoba Golf Classic; Austin Cook – The RSM Classic).
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is in its first season and adds another layer of excitement to the FedExCup Regular Season. The top 10 players at the end of the FedExCup Regular Season will earn bonus payouts from the Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
Matt Kuchar remains No. 1, and there were no changes among the rest of the all-important Top 10. Just two weeks and four tournaments remain until the start of the Wyndham Championship, the last event of the FedExCup Regular Season.
Rank last week
What Top 10 gets (End of Regular Season)