For the third time in seven tournaments a Texas Longhorn ended up with the John Deere Classic's bronze buck.
But Dylan Frittelli, the latest University of Texas product to grab the JDC's winner's trophy, admits there may not be many similarities between himself and two-time JDC champ Jordan Spieth.
“Obviously Jordan and I were at college together, and he's probably the antithesis of me in terms of … mental focus. He has a burning desire to win everything,” said Frittelli. “We used to play ping-pong in the locker room and I would beat him four games in a row and he was like, 'No, you're not leaving, stay here.'
"Dude, I've got to go and practice now. … He wouldn't let me leave until he beat me. He has had a burning desire. I don't really have that. I'm more methodical, and I'm more thoughtful in what I do. There are different ways of doing it, and obviously it works out for him and I wish I had more of that burning desire, but I don't. So I'm going to take this win and use that to fuel my technique, fuel my analysis and keep it going in the future.”
Like Spieth, the 29-year-old Frittelli, who was ranked No. 133 in the Official World Golf Rankings coming into tournament week, shows plenty of poise early in his PGA Tour voyage and doesn't lack confidence. However, on the surface, he may be a bit more like the first South African to win in the Quad-Cities. Frittelli's patient approach conjures up memories of David Frost, who won the 1992 and '93 events at Oakwood Country Club.
But, hey, kid no pressure to follow in those footsteps with back-to-back titles here.
And no pressure, either to be the next Jordan Spieth and use this event as a springboard on a meteoric rise to golf fame.
Some of the Frittelli/Spieth similarities are obvious — the college connections, the fact that both won here in their first Q-C visits. But there are enough differences. Speith was 19. Frittelli is 29 and has already won four times internationally.
Spieth won with scores of 19-under and 20-under and needed playoffs to win each title. Frittelli, whose only bogey of the week came in the middle of Friday's second round on No. 1, carded a 7-under 64 on Sunday to top Russell Henley by two strokes. He was two shots back starting the day.
As collegians, Frittelli made the winning putt that clinched the Longhorns' NCAA team title in 2012 to beat Alabama when he was a senior and Spieth a freshman.
“Jordan came in as the most highly recruited player probably in a three-, four-year span … and he came in with a chip on his shoulder and said 'I've arrived, boys, here I am,'” said Frittelli. “I was a senior having been an All-American, and I see this kid, he's pretty confident, let's see what he has. Throughout that whole year, we pushed each other.”
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Frittelli and Spieth each spent time ranked as No. 1 in amateur rankings before both ending up behind Justin Thomas.
Frittelli admits that sits on his mind.
“In the past I've used that as fuel,” he admitted. “I've played with Jordan and actually beat him in more tournaments than he beat me during the college year. So I try to draw on that and think, hey, if he can do amazing things that he's done and I've played at his level, I know I can still do that.”
Now Frittelli has more fuel for any conversations that he might have with Spieth, despite the younger of the two still holding bragging rights.
“Obviously he's gone on to win multiple majors and do amazing things, and that's something I hope to do in due time,” said Frittelli. “Yeah, I've basically just seen him as someone that I can compare myself to and use it as fuel. It's not something that I'm trying to beat him or I'm trying to outdo him or do something better than him. He's a good friend, as well, and he's a great guy and someone that obviously I hope to spend more time with.”
He doesn't think the two will compare notes anytime soon, though, as chats are infrequent.
“No. He changes his number every two to three months, so it's hard to keep up,” joked Frittelli. “No, it's tough. He's got his own schedule. He's got such a busy life. I don't envy all the stuff that he has to put up with.”
Frittelli said he did have a chat with Spieth at one of last year's Match Play events and admitted he was amazed at how Spieth handles the limelight.
Now, like his former college teammate, could be Frittelli's time to step out of the shadows and find his own spotlight.
He did that very well on Sunday at TPC Deere Run.