Surprisingly it is South African Dylan Frittelli who is the longest man off the tee at Augusta

‘I’ve gone to a longer driver and I’ve been flying it about 320 yards off the tee’

All the roads leading to Augusta this week have been dominated by talk of prodigious length and the possibility of 48-inch drivers. But it’s South African Dylan Frittelli playing in just his second Masters, and not Bryson DeChambeau, who has been making the most of a longer driver and some incredible tee shots.

The 30-year-old missed the cut in 2018 but, with an average driving distance of nearly 320 yards, he has put himself into fifth spot and just five back of Dustin Johnson. And it is in part to DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson that he first experimented with a lengthened driver.

“I was just trying to gain some distance in the off season and I did some speed drills with my trainer and he said why don’t you try a longer driver? The Callaway guys managed to get me in a Mavrik driver and I decided to go to a longer shaft, about two inches longer at 46 inches, and I’m now up to 122-23mph clubhead speed and I’ve been flying it about 315, 320 off the tee.

I’ve picked up five or six miles per hour on the driver in about two, three months now. I never tried it until the first Vegas event this year, and it was, I mean, three miles faster than my driver just on a standard swing. When I really get after it, it goes even further,” said the winner of last year’s John Deere Classic.

“So it’s been working out really well and I’m actually hitting those tee shots with intention now. I had to catch up the 3‑wood because it was a big gap between and it’s really made the game more enjoyable for me. You see, Phil (Mickelson) over the last year, two years, and say, oh, I’m hitting bombs and stuff, and he’s having fun. It actually is really fun.”

As for his new lofty position of 5th going into the final round – he has previously played in nine majors with a best finish of T31 at the 2018 PGA – Frittelli will be working on his mind game as much as his new length ahead of his big day in the sun.

“I’ll just try and get my mind ready. I’ll do some mental drills tonight and possibly Sunday morning. Many guys come off the course and think, oh, my swing was out, I was doing this badly, putting badly.

“They don’t reflect and go, hang on, maybe it was my mental side. Maybe I wasn’t sharp, maybe I wasn’t focused.  That’s something I actively work on. I don’t think it’s something you can just willy‑nilly fall into place and do well, so I actively work on that stuff with my sports psych and try to have a nice clear happy disposition when I’m on the course.

“I think it’s good that our tee times are early, I never enjoy waking up and having five hours to think about a round of golf.”

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