Ironing out the kinks

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

Brad Fritsch was at work early yesterday.

The Manotick pro hit the back nine of the North Course at Angus Glen in Markham at 6:45 a.m. for nine holes before a pro-am took over the course on the eve of the Canadian Open.

Fritsch is putting in the hours, trying to adapt to swing changes he has been working on with coach Patrick Kelley, of Raleigh, N.C., which is Fritsch's home base now.

After earning fully exempt status on the Nationwide Tour (golf's Triple-A) at Q-School last fall and having a decent start to this season, Fritsch's inconsistency convinced him to cut down on sway and improve his body rotation.

"It was a nice start and since then, frustration," said Fritsch yesterday. "I've felt it's coming together, but I can't take it onto the course for a round. I know it will come. Right now it's a matter of being patient."

After making the cut in three of his first four Nationwide events (including a T14, his best finish so far), Fritsch has missed the cut in nine of his last 13 events and withdrew from another.

Even during his decent start, he knew his game needed to be upgraded.

"I was masking it a bit. My misses were straight. I'd hit one fat, then one thin. I'd hit a couple of good drives and then one off the map. You can't get away with that," he said.

In May at the Fort Smith Charity Classic in Arkansas, Fritsch had rounds of 68-68-77-69.

What's wrong with that picture?

In his last two Nationwide starts, Fritsch has gone 81-70 and 78-71.

Fritsch is in between swings right now and until he gets comfortable with his new move, consistency will be an issue.

'ROUND FALLS APART'

"A couple of things go wrong and the round falls apart. I've been shooting myself out of it in the first round. I've got to believe in what I'm doing," said Fritsch.

Part of the problem is when he executes, he's hitting the ball farther than he ever has, so getting good yardages has been an issue.

He needs to get it together soon or risk having to go back to Q-school again this fall.

Fritsch has slipped to 139th on the Nationwide money list with $18,190 US. The top 25 players on the Nationwide list at the end of the year earn their PGA Tour cards, the top 60 remain fully exempt for 2008 on Nationwide and the top 100 get conditional status.

He was passed over when the first wave of exemptions were given out for the Canadian Open (though in my opinion, being fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour he deserved one), but got a call from Canadian Open tournament director Bill Paul last week offering him a spot.

"I was disappointed, no question," said Fritsch of being passed over (he was the only fully exempt Canadian on Nationwide not to get an exemption). "He's got a job to do. I don't think anybody could make the choices and have no one disappointed. I'm going to argue for me.

"One thing I do like is except for Victor Ciesielski (the amateur who made the cut last year in Hamilton), the exemptions went to (Canadian) pros. If you want to develop pros, you've got to get them out here and give them a chance to get comfortable in a setting like this. Give the exemptions to pros, not amateurs."

So, instead of being in Nebraska for this week's Nationwide stop, Fritsch is in Markham. He tees off at 8:20 this morning from the first tee with Jeff Overton and Brendon de Jonge.

"Playing in the national championship is pretty important," he said.

"I'm just glad I'm not in Omaha."


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