CALGARY - Midway through the most gruelling job interview in the golf biz, Brad Fritsch is sitting pretty.
The smooth swinger from Manotick, Ont., continued his climb in Friday's action at the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School, moving into a tie for ninth at 8-under 208 after three rounds at the 108-hole event at PGA West Resort in La Quinta, Calif.
The top-25 finishers, plus ties, will earn full-time playing privileges on the world's most lucrative golf tour for the upcoming season, while the others will earn some level of status on the second-tier Nationwide Tour.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is also in prime position at 7-under through three rounds, good for a share of 19th spot. Alabama's Will Claxton owns a two-stroke lead at 13-under 203.
At 34, Fritsch is the most experienced of the record-setting nine Canadians that qualified for the six-round entrance exam. He spent three seasons on the Nationwide Tour, has appeared in four PGA Tour events and is now in his third trip to the final stage of Q-School.
He arrived at PGA West without a specific goal, just wanting to string together six solid rounds.
ďI think I am actually done with the goal-setting thing in terms of my golf. Iím more interested to see how I hold up under the biggest pressure,Ē Fritsch told Ottawa-based Flagstick Golf Magazine earlier this week. Thatís what you work for, you practice for, is to hold up under the biggest pressure ó to hit the shots when you need them. Itís more of, 'Can I do it? Letís see if I can do it.' Ē
So far, he's lookin' good.
Fritsch equalled the best score of Thursday's blustery second round with a blistering 5-under 67 on PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament Course, then continued to post shave strokes off par with Friday's 3-under 69 on the TPC Stadium Course.
Hadwin rattled off three straight birdies to finish Friday's lap of the Stadium Course at 2-under 70, while Stuart Anderson of Strathmore, Alta., fired a 1-under 71 on the same track and has a three-day tab of 5-under.
James Love and Ryan Yip, both of Calgary, are sitting at even-par at the midway point of the marathon event, four shots better than Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont.
Mitch Gillis (7-over) of Williams Lake, B.C., Vancouver's Richard T. Lee (8-over) and Kingston, Ont., product Matt McQuillan (11-over) will each need a lot of birdies over the final three rounds to get into red numbers.