Fritsch shoots for PGA card

Brad Fritsch watches during a charity tournament at the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club on Monday, May...

Brad Fritsch watches during a charity tournament at the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club on Monday, May 28, 2012. (Errol McGihon/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

OTTAWA - Brad Fritsch was moving a box Monday morning when he thought he felt a rib pop.

Without dwelling on it, he headed to the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club, where he would fulfil an obligation at the Max Keeping Foundation Charity Tournament. There, on the range to provide “B-roll” for a local TV station, he experienced the same sharp pain in his side.

Only this time, it was worse.

“Yeah, that was a popped rib,” Fritsch confirmed later in a text. “Drove to Manotick and got a chiropractor to pop it back in. (It’s) fine now.”

Good thing, because the way he’s playing these days, Fritsch doesn’t want any interruptions.

With his T5 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am May 20, Fritsch moved into 25th on the Nationwide Tour money list. That means if the golf season ended today, the 34-year-old Rideau View member would be headed to the PGA Tour, as the top 25 get their card the following season.

Fritsch is ready for the step.

“I do,” he said when asked if he likes his chances of making it. “A number of people, including people who play out there, have said that my game really suits out there, more than the Nationwide Tour. And I’d be excited to try that out.”

Why would he be better off playing with the big boys?

“I think length out there, and more pars, rather than ... it’s not a shootout every week,” said Fritsch. “It’s played on more difficult golf courses. Management strategy is a bigger part of it ... A lot of time, it’s first one to get to 20-under par on the Nationwide Tour wins.

“Look at last week, at the Colonial. It as 12-under, 11-under and third place was 7-under. That tells me it’s more about patience, which I’ve become really good at, and strategy and waiting for your time to come.

“My short game has really come around in the last couple of weeks. If that stays consistent, I feel better about being a little more aggressive from the fairway. I’ve tended to be a little conservative. Kind of just waited for putts to drop. In past years I’d fire at flags, which could be really good and make birdies, or you can find yourself making some bogeys that way, too.”

Fritsch’s visit home wasn’t a long one. The Nationwide Tour’s 10th (of 27) tournaments is The Rex Hospital Open next weekend in Raleigh. From there, he’s headed to a U.S. Open qualifier in Maryland on June 4, and then to Mexico for another tournament the following weekend.

“I had a few intermediate, monetary goals this year, but my first goal was okay, get to a dollar amount that will keep your status for next year,” said Fritsch, who has earned $61,834 on the Nationwide Tour so far this season. “Then it was get to a dollar amount (approximately $100,000) that will keep your fully exempt card. And then get to the PGA Tour number.

“I’ve met the first goal and now I need a couple of good finishes to get to the second goal. Obviously, I’m right there.”

Fritsch has been grinding it out for years, trying to reach his goal. His biggest season on the Nationwide was in 2008, when he made approximately $94,000, then pulled in some extra cash via sponsorships. Last season, his earnings reached the six-figure mark, but that was with the help of some decent showings on the mini-tours.

“That was a pretty big deal to me,” said Fritsch. “It showed that wherever I played, I played pretty good.

“I feel the more times I get in a spot like I was last week, the more likely it will be I’ll get fourth, third, second, first than, you know, fifth ... I’ll have the experience to maybe save a shot on Sunday, and that will definitely help.

“It’s a long year,” he added. “I just want to be the type of player that is in the mix week after week. Three top 10s in nine events is pretty solid. I’m trending well, as they say.”


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