There was nothing to suggest Dylan Frittelli would win the John Deere Classic. Or even remotely contend, for that matter. In his second full season on tour, Frittelli – despite a superb collegiate career – had not had a top-10 finish, his best being an 11th in the 2018 Honda Classic. This season has brought nothing better than a pair of T-18s. He came to TPC Deere Run ranked 161st in strokes gained/putting at -.281 and 60th in scrambling.
By day’s end Sunday, however, Frittelli had flipped the script, becoming a first-time PGA Tour winner, doing so on the strength of a strong week on and around the greens.
It’s not often a player wins by ranking 60th in strokes gained/approach the green, but Frittelli made that work at the Deere. That’s because he countered that relative inefficiency by ranking second in strokes gained/putting and second in strokes gained/around the green. Despite missing 16 greens over the 72 holes, Frittelli had just one bogey (on the first hole of the second round), converting 15 of 16 scrambling opportunities to lead the field. Frittelli rode a hot putter to 22 birdies, enough for a two-stroke win over Russell Henley, capped by a 12-footer for an up-and-down birdie from the sand on the par-5 17th to provide a cushion playing the last. For the final round, Frittelli shot 64.
Frittelli has a couple of notable things with his equipment. Like Phil Mickelson, he uses Callaway’s Chrome Soft X ball with Triple Track technology, with three lines on the ball to assist with alignment. He also uses an Odyssey EXO Stroke Lab 2-Ball putter with 3 1/2 degrees of loft, a black crank joint hosel and black Lamkin Deep Etch grip. Frittelli has told Callaway and Odyssey he likes the consistency of the Stroke Lab shaft (which is part steel, part graphite), and the stability offered from the EXO mallet design.
“I made a few putts today,” Frittelli said after his third round. “Yesterday I made a few, today I made a few, and if I can keep that rolling and the ball-striking remains, it should be a good Sunday.”
He indeed kept that rolling. And it was a very good Sunday.
What Dylan Frittelli had in the bag at the John Deere Classic
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (Mitsubishi Tensei CK 70), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero, 15 degrees
5-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, 18 degrees
Irons (3): Callaway X-Forged UT; (5-PW): Callaway X-Forged 18
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (52 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM7 (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey EXO Stroke Lab 2-Ball