(Reuters) - South African Dylan Frittelli secured the final spot in the British Open field when he won the John Deere Classic by two strokes in Silvis, Illinois, on Sunday.
Frittelli clinched his first PGA Tour victory in style with a seven-birdie, seven-under-par 64 at TPC Deere Run, after starting the day two strokes off the pace.
He finished at 21-under 263, while American Russell Henley shot a sizzling 61 to vault into second place on 19 under.
Frittelli quickly set his sights on the British Open that starts at Royal Portrush on Thursday.
“Hopefully jump on that (charter) flight tonight and head over to the Open,” the bespectacled 29-year-old told CBS television.
“Hopefully I can be calm by the time I get there but I’m sure it’s going to be a fun flight.”
Johannesburg-born Frittelli attended the University of Texas in Austin before turning pro in 2012.
He won twice on the European Tour in 2017 but this is his first full season on the PGA Tour.
Frittelli started the week ranked 153rd on the tour’s points ranking, more concerned with improving his position than winning. Now he has a two-year exemption.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know I have some job security,” he said. “Perspective is going to change big time. It sets me up to be a little more specific (with my schedule).”
Wearing all white clothing on Sunday, in contrast to the traditional black outfit compatriot Gary Player donned throughout his storied career, Frittelli got a great start with birdies at the first three holes and never looked back.
While he eventually won with a degree of comfort, for a while it looked as though Henley had a chance to secure what would have been a stunning victory.
The American teed off trailing overnight leaders Andrew Landry and Cameron Tringale by seven shots, and made 10 birdies to set a target for the rest.
Only Frittelli was up to the challenge.
Landry (69) birdied the final hole for third place on 18-under, while Tringale (73) was never a factor, plunging down the leaderboard to equal 16th.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Ken Ferris