For the second-time in his career, Dylan Frittelli was denied a maiden European Tour title by a play-off defeat.
A play-off defeat to Alexander Levy at the Volvo China Open is added to the 2015 loss at the Australian PGA Championship.Embed from Getty Images
Frittelli started the day at 19-under-par, three shots ahead of Pablo Larrazábal in second and seven shots ahead of Levy in third.
Frittelli went out in a steady 36 – with a bogey at the 5th and birdie at the 7th – as Larrazábal lost ground, going out in 37. Meanwhile, Levy – who becomes the first man to win the Volvo China Open twice- closed in to two shots after getting to three-under for the round through 11 holes.Embed from Getty Images
The grasp on the lead loosened significantly with a double-bogey on the par five 12th to knock Frittelli back to only two shots ahead.
A birdie on the 15th, after an eagle on the 12th, brought last week’s Shenzhen International winner Bernd Wiesberger joint second with Larrazábal and Levy from nine-shots back to within contention.
Frittelli found the front bunker on the 14th but managed a crucial up-and-down to hold off the trailing pack. However, a short pitch on the 327-yard par four 15th set up a birdie for Levy to move within one.
The same hole confronted Frittelli next who found the green in one, giving him three putts for par; the South African only needed two and extended his lead back to two shots.Embed from Getty Images
A poorly synchronised swing from Frittelli on the par three 16th left him with an impossible chip from directly in-front of a boulder. With no way of getting near to the pin, he had to bail to over 50-feet away. His first putt came up 10-feet short, but his tricky downhill second attempt was sunk for a crucial bogey-save to hold onto his lead.
From the 9th to 17th Larrazábal only managed 9 consecutive pars and struggled to make a move towards Frittelli or Levy ahead of him.
A fourth consecutive 10-foot-or-so putt from Frittelli saved him another par on the 17th and, after a birdie from Levy, ensured he headed down the fairway of the 72nd hole of the event knowing a birdie on a par five would be enough for his first European Tour title.
Frittelli’s approach fell the wrong side of the grand stand, sandwiched between a tree trunk and a fire extinguisher. However, because of the positioning of safety equipment, he got a free drop back on the right side of the grand stand with an up-and-down to win.
His chip fell well short, as did his second putt meaning he would be taken to a play-off by Levy.
The first hole of the play-off saw Frittelli’s downfall as he found the bunker off the tee and, after three shots apiece, was 10-foot outside Levy. The Frenchman was able to sink his putt and steal the title from Frittelli.