Fabulous Frittelli set to claim second European Tour title
Improving South African the man to beat
Story so far
Arjun Atwal topped the leaderboard for three days at the Mauritius Open, but the Indian journeyman bogeyed the 18th hole of his third round to drop alongside Louis de Jager.
Atwal and De Jager are tied in front at 13 under par with 18 holes to go at Heritage Golf Club, and bookmakers will be delighted to see either man triumph. Atwal, 400-1 at the outset, has not won a European Tour event since the 2008 Malaysian Open, while 30-year-old South African De Jager has never been victorious on this circuit, going off at 200-1.
The favourite going into round four is Dylan Frittelli, who has been in fantastic form in recent weeks and is hunting his second European Tour triumph of the season. He won the Lyoness Open in June and has developed into a class act at the age of 27.
Frittelli, 16-1 ante-post, is one shot behind and 9-4 market leader. Louis Oosthuizen, pre-tournament 6-1 favourite, is six shots off the pace and a 50-1 poke.
-13 Arjun Atwal, Louis de Jager
-12 Dylan Frittelli, Miguel Tabuena
-10 Jose-Filipe Lima, Romain Langasque, Justin Walters
-9 Ricardo Gouveia
-8 Laurie Canter, Oliver Bekker, Joel Stalter
-7 Louis Oosthuizen, Mark Williams, Darren Fichardt, Matthieu Pavon, George Coetzee, Shiv Kapur, Hadyn Porteous, Jean-Paul Strydom, Doug McGuigan
9-4 D Frittelli, 4 L de Jager, 5 A Atwal, M Tabuena, 22 J-F Lima, J Walters, 25 R Langasque, 33 R Gouveia, 50 L Oosthuizen, 60 bar
There were two negatives against the otherwise impeccable credentials of Dylan Frittelli going into the Mauritius Open. One has already been put firmly to bed, while the other may have been a red herring.
Frittelli missed the cut by five shots on the only previous occasion that Heritage GC was used for a European Tour event. He was a struggling Challenge Tour player in those days though (2015) and his failure clearly had nothing to do with unsuitability to the course.
The second negative was that he was competing for a fifth consecutive week in Mauritius, so was entitled to feel some fatigue. There has been no evidence of that over the first three days, though, with the stick-thin, fighting-fit South African his usual bubbly self.
Punters on Frittelli at the ante-post 16-1 should be on extremely good terms with themselves – they have got a juicy price about one of the most in-form players on the circuit for a low-grade gathering where he is a class above almost everyone. Anyone yet to get aboard is advised to take the 9-4.
Frittelli has a five-shot advantage over Louis Oosthuizen and can consider himself a better player than everyone else on the leaderboard. European Tour Final Series form figures of 2-42-4 were followed by 16th place in the Hong Kong Open, before dangerman Dylan headed to Mauritius.
Arjun Atwal missed a short par putt on the final hole of round three and nothing the unconvincing Indian has done in the last three years suggests he should be winning this. The 44-year-old shocked himself with a spectacular first round, but the fun may have come to an end.
Louis de Jager has won three times on the Sunshine Tour, but has never looked anything other than bang average, and the main threat to Frittelli could come from Miguel Tabuena. The pride of the Philippines, who turned just 23 last month, is a promising talent who holed a nice birdie putt on the final hole of round three.
Tabuena's only Asian Tour victory came in his homeland – the 2015 Philippine Open – but he has finished runner-up four times in more prestigious events. Four strong Asian Tour outings (16-7-21-3) before a missed cut on the mark in the Hong Kong Open meant he arrived in Mauritius with confidence.
A duel between Tabuena and Frittelli could unfold in round four, with the latter expected to triumph. Frittelli enjoyed a huge psychological boost on the final green of the third round, his birdie putt dropping when he thought he had missed it left, and from just one shot behind the improving world number 67 will be relishing his Sunday task.
4pts 9-4 general