Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Dylan Frittelli takes pride in his consistency and progress, and now as a senior for the University of Texas men's golf team, he hopes to lead the Longhorns by example to a national championship.
Frittelli was born in South Africa and lived there until he was 18 years old. As a child in South Africa, he played many sports and described himself as a "sports addict from a young age."
"I grew up playing cricket, field hockey, tennis, soccer and golf," Frittelli said. "My dad says I've been playing golf since I could walk and even before I could walk, but really I would whack around a ball with plastic clubs just like any kid would."
It wasn't until he was about 9 or 10 that Frittelli started playing golf on an actual golf course. Over holiday breaks he would try to play every day or every second day; however, he remembers going entire school semesters without even touching a golf club.
"Golf was really an on-and-off affair until I turned 15, when I decided to focus on golf and give it a run," Frittelli explained. "My childhood was pretty much about all sports, but golf became my life once I turned 15."
Little did he know what golf had in store for him and his future. Only a few years later, Frittelli went on to capture the 2007 Callaway Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego, Calif. Then, in 2008 he represented his native South Africa at the World Amateur Team Championship in Adelaide, Australia, where he finished in the top 10.
Frittelli also worked his way up the rankings to the No. 1 spot in the South African Amateur Rankings and eventually won the South African Boys' Championship in 2008 for a spectacular start to his golf career.
Frittelli then saw opportunities to play golf in America.
"I knew once the opportunity of playing golf in America was quite possible, it really made it easy to practice and work hard," Frittelli said.
He travelled to America with his family for the first time when he was 5 to go to Disney World; a trip they began to make every three to four years. He found he enjoyed the travels to the United States, but why did he choose the University of Texas?
"Obviously, UT is the best at pretty much everything," he said with a chuckle. "I looked at a few other schools, but I wanted to challenge myself. Instead of going to a small school I thought, ‘Why not come to a big university and try to make a name for myself?'"
Education was also an important factor in his decision to attend Texas.
"The academics side of it was probably 50 to 60 percent of the reason I came to Texas," Frittelli said. "My mother is a teacher, and she wanted me to get a good education and I think that's the correct thing to do. I could have turned pro and played professional golf for the past four years, but the time I've spent here has definitely better prepared me for a professional career."
The transition from South Africa to Texas was fairly easy for him, and head coach John Fields said the Longhorns made sure to make Frittelli a "Texas in a hurry."
Frittelli had previously made trips to Dallas and visited Austin to become familiar with UT. Frittelli had also met present teammate Adam Wennerstrom at a tournament in Florida before coming to UT. They became close friends and have been roommates at UT for the past three years.
"Dylan is such a good person, friend and teammate," Wennerstrom said. "He embodies what it means to be a Texas Longhorn."
Frittelli registered his first collegiate victory as a freshman at the Puerto Rico Classic. As a sophomore he was named a PING All-American, Golfweek All-American and the 2010 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. He recorded his second collegiate victory as a sophomore, too, at the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. Frittelli was again named a PING All-American his junior year, as well as a member of the All-Big 12 Team for the second consecutive year.
"I haven't had too many highlights or too many spectacular events," Frittelli said, "but just the consistent progression I've made since my freshman year to get where I am now, for me, is the thing I'm most proud of."
Even with his personal success at Texas, Frittelli is undoubtedly a team player. The National Championship is constantly in the back of his mind. He knows Texas, which won four-straight tournaments this season in assuming the nation's top team ranking, has a strong team.
"I realized that I have to try and shoot the best score I can every round out there and that's the best way to help the team," Frittelli explained. "I'm not extremely vocal. I'm more reserved and kind of a quiet guy. I really just like to set the example with my work ethic and my practice and the things that I do. I'm hoping the young guys will try to mirror that and put in the same amount of work that I do."
Frittelli will be graduating at the end of the spring semester with a geography degree.
"I definitely want to play professional golf sometime in the future, hopefully right after I graduate," Frittelli said. "I've really enjoyed going to school and learning the things that I've learned. Having that degree in Geography to fall back on is something that I'm proud of."