Can't ditch Fritsch at the Open

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:43 PM ET

VANCOUVER - One way or another, Brad Fritsch was teeing it up at the Open.

The 33-year-old from Manotick was entered in the Colorado Open this week but made a pit-stop in Surrey, B.C., for the final qualifier for the RBC Canadian Open and wound up switching his itinerary to include a stop at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club for the fourth PGA Tour appearance of his career.

"I think (Colorado Open organizers) are saving my spot for next year, just in case. But, yeah, I'm definitely glad to be here," Fritsch said after Tuesday's practice round. "The money out here on the PGA Tour is so good that any finish, when you feel like you played good, you're going to get paid a nice amount. But I'm more interested in how my game stacks up."

Fritsch fired a 7-under 65 in Monday's qualifier at Morgan Creek Golf Course, splitting medallist honours with B.C.'s Darren Wallace and earning one of four last-chance entries in the 2011 Canadian Open.

He doesn't have to look far for proof that Monday's survivors can carry their momentum into the tournament.

North Dakota's Tom Hoge earned a last-minute invite to the Canadian Tour Players Cup in Winnipeg last week and won the whole darn thing, with Fritsch finishing five strokes back in a tie for third.

"I had a really great weekend in Winnipeg and I played well on Monday, so there's no reason not to (carry the momentum forward)," Fritsch said. "It's just that the stage is different. I'll see if I can handle that difference."

During three summers on the Nationwide Tour, Fritsch competed against many of the same guys that will be in this week's field at Shaughnessy. Then again, with big names like Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Mike Weir on the tee-sheet, there's no doubt this is a big-league event.

Making his fourth appearance at the Canadian Open, albeit the first since 2008, Fritsch admitted after Tuesday's practice session that he's already feeling a bit more comfortable than he did in years past.

"It was a little easier (Tuesday) morning playing a practice round than it was the last time," Fritsch said. "I sure wish I could get a full year out here and see what that would be like. That's the goal.

"I think I hit it good enough. They say the difference is the consistency of guys' short games out here and the mental approach, and I'm interested to see how I stack up this week."


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