Fritsch is Alberta bound

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:56 AM ET

Brad Fritsch was going to take it easy this week, maybe hit a few balls, then make his way to Vancouver to try to qualify for the Bell Canadian Open next week.

Things changed with a call from the PGA Tour yesterday morning. Fritsch was told he has been awarded a spot in the field for the Nationwide Tour event, one level removed from the PGA Tour, which gets underway tomorrow in Calgary.

Fritsch earned his spot based on his standing on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit as the Nationwide Tour filled out the field for the $450,000 US Alberta Classic.

"It's all about taking advantage of the opportunity," said Fritsch, a Manotick resident who will catch a flight to Calgary this morning. "Hopefully the lack of a practice round won't hurt. I'm just taking it as a free shot ... just free wheel with nothing to lose."

Fritsch will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Brantford's David Hearn. Hearn won the Alberta Classic last year and it helped propel him to the PGA Tour this season.

RANKED 14TH

Fritsch is ranked 14th on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit with $31,759 and is the fifth-ranked Canadian. The Alberta Classic has first-place money of $81,000 US.

If Fritsch can finish in the top 25 this week, he will earn an exemption into next week's Nationwide event in Utah.

He will also try to qualify for a spot in the Bell Canadian Open, to be played Sept. 5-11 at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

Oshawa's Jon Mills, meanwhile, will be looking for a Canadian sweep. Mills won the CPGA Championship -- now a Nationwide Tour event in Southern Ontario -- five weeks ago for his first Nationwide victory.

The leading money winner on the Canadian Tour in 2003, he's currently in fifth place on the Nationwide money list with $257,508 US. The top 20 players at the end of the year get their PGA Tour cards for 2006.


Videos

Photos