BRAD Fritsch is rolling the rock these days. The touring pro from Manotick set a new course record from the back tees at the Rideau View Golf Club, his home track, with a 63 the other day.
After eagling the par-5 10th hole and birdieing the par-3 11th, Fritsch was 7-under on his round with two par-5s to go and had visions of flirting with 59.
"I put it in the bunker on (the par-5) 16 and hit it to five feet, but I missed the putt," he said. "I wound up shooting 63 and I parred 1, 16 and 18, all par-5s."
Fritsch, who hits it deep, usually eats up the par-5s.
The course record at Rideau View is indicative of how things have been going for Fritsch lately. He had his third top-10 finish on the Canadian Tour last weekend with a tie for ninth at the Montreal Open. He got a cheque for $3,900, bringing his earnings on the CanTour to $17,049 this year. That's good for 31st spot on the Order of Merit.
He's made the cut now in five straight events and has clearly taken his game to another level.
"I think he's the most improved player on the Canadian Tour," said Darren Griff, a CanTour vet who played with Fritsch the first two rounds in Montreal.
CURRY HOT AT QUALIFIER: Ottawa's Lee Curry turned in a brilliant 7-under 65 (34-31) to top the field in a Bell Canadian Open qualifier at Le Versant in Montreal this week. Since there weren't at least 100 players in the field, Curry's performance only earned him a berth in the final qualifier the Monday of tournament week instead of a spot in the field of the PGA Tour event.
Fritsch also advanced to the final qualifier, Sept. 6 at Rattlesnake Point in Milton, on the strength of a 70. Local pro Roger Beale also earned a spot in the qualifier with a 70.
Curry is playing well now, too, making his third straight cut in Montreal (T29, $1,091) and moving up to 51st ($11,256) on the Order of Merit in his rookie season on the Canadian Tour.
HEAR AND THERE: The Hunt Club's Chris McCuaig will be putting quite a winning streak on the line this week at the Investors Group City and District "A" Class championship, which gets under way Monday at Talon at Grey Hawk. McCuaig has won the last two OVGA Match Play championships, is the defending champ in the City and District, was a member of the Hunt's championship Intersectional team and most recently won the Ottawa Citizen Amateur Championship by six shots. That's quite a run of fine golf ... Rideau View's Stephen Fritsch is off to the Canadian Amateur at Beaconsfield, which will be contested next week in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the club ... David Williams of Outaouais is the third alternate from a U.S. Amateur qualifier at Poughkeepsie, N.Y.'s Dutchess G&C.C.
JUNIOR ROUNDUP: Ottawa's Wendall Touhey is at Glen Abbey to participate in an elite training camp as he gets ready to represent the Canadian Junior Golf Association at the World Junior Golf Club Aug. 11-15 at St. Andrews Bay Golf Club in Scotland. The training camp is sponsored by ClubLink and is preparing the 12-member team in mental preparation and match-play tactics. Canada is the defending champ at the World Junior Golf Cup, the most prestigious event on the CJGA schedule, which pits CJGA Team Canada against a team from the U.S. in a Ryder Cup-style event ... Other locals prepping for some high-level competition this week are River Allen, 16, of Ottawa, Patrick Sears, 17, of Kanata and Ryan Sevigny, 15, of Stittsville, who are off to the CJGA's PING Canadian Junior Match Play Championships at Cherry Downs Golf Club Monday-Thursday. The tournament is one of only two national championships conducted by the CJGA and will feature 100 of Canada's top juniors.
HOLE-IN-ONE CLUB: Sparky Gilbeau had his second hole-in-one of the season when his 7-iron shot found the hole at the 135-yard 14th hole at Mountain Creek. Witnessing the shot were Eric Guibeault, Roger Stimpson and Bob Thompson. It was Gilbeau's fourth career ace ... Don Kenney of Brockville took his game on the road for his ace, knocking in a 6-iron on the 155-yard 10th hole at the Manitou course up at Tremblant. Watching were Dennis Langlois, Bubba Harper and Ricky Churchill.