Fritsch's hopes sink at school

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:15 AM ET

A 9-iron shot which flew 172 yards put Brad Fritsch in the drink and left him swimming upstream at the PGA Tour qualifying school in Texas yesterday.

The long-flying short-iron led to a double bogey at the par-3 15th hole at the Lantana Golf Club, just outside Dallas-Fort Worth, and contributed to a 2-over-par 74 for the Manotick pro in yesterday's first round.

That left Fritsch tied for 48th and in the middle of the pack. The top 23 players after 72 holes will advance to the next stage of qualifying for playing privileges on the tour in 2005.

"It never occurred to me that a 9-iron would go in the water," said Fritsch. "It's an island green and the pin was back.

BOUNCED INTO WATER

"I just went off what I hit in the practice round. I flew it 172 yards and it hit two feet from the back edge and it bounced into the water. The flag was about five feet from the back. I guess it was a little downwind."

Fritsch is eight shots behind first-round leader Mitchell Stiles of Baton Rouge, La., who had a 6-under 66.

Fritsch wasn't discouraged with his play, however.

"I'm not too worried," said the 26-year-old, who's taking his fourth shot at getting his PGA Tour card. "I got this round out of the way.

"I hit the ball pretty well and I had plenty of opportunities. There's room for improvement in my score."

Fritsch finished 19th on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit with earnings of $30,774 in 11 tournaments this season.


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