Fritsch closes in on PGA Tour card

Canada's Brad Fritsch sits in 21st spot on the Web.com money list with three tournaments to go. The...

Canada's Brad Fritsch sits in 21st spot on the Web.com money list with three tournaments to go. The top 25 get full-time status on the PGA Tour for 2013. (Getty)

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 AM ET

Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont., says a turning point in his season came in late August at the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn., even if he did tie for 41st at that event.

Fritsch is now in 21st place on the Web.com Tour money list with three tournaments remaining. The top 25 get full-time status next year on the PGA Tour.

Fritsch didn’t advance or decline on the money list at the Neediest Kids Championship in Maryland, where he came off a fourth place finish the week before. Fritsch opened with rounds of 67-66, but recorded 74-75 to tie for 16th along with Victoria’s Stuart Anderson.

“There was a stretch in the middle of the year I missed a few cuts in a row and I was hitting it all over the yard,” Fritsch said.

“My coach was there for the week and he just kind of got me going a lot slower. I had just gotten to the point where I was really just jabbing at it,” said Fritsch, adding that putting was the focus in those particular sessions.

“I don’t do a lot of video. I’m not seeing myself hitting putts on the practice green, so it’s just kind of hard to feel exactly what’s going on,” he said.

“I was at a point where I was four or five weeks in a row on the road. I hadn’t seen him in those four or five weeks, so it was good to have him come and just get me back to my foundation and make sure my set-up was good, my rhythm, my pace was good,” Fritsch said.

That session appeared to have immediate benefits as Fritsch tied for second the following week at the Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Penn., just a few weeks before his solo fourth-place finish at the Chiquita Classic in North Carolina a week ago.

ADJUSTING AGAIN

Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault-sur-le-lac, Que., was just getting settled into the Symetra Tour, the main development circuit of the LPGA Tour, but it’s now time to begin adjusting again. Not that she’s complaining.

Juneau, 24, shot 69-69-70 to tie for fourth at the Daytona Beach Invitational at LPGA International a week ago. That left Juneau 10th on the season-ending money list to earn the final exempt LPGA Tour card for next year that is available thorough the Symetra Tour.

Juneau needed a bit of luck to reach that career plateau. Last year, 10 LPGA cards were awarded, but only five were fully exempt, so Juneau came away with status she wouldn’t have had in 2011, but it wasn’t all about luck in her first full season on the Symetra Tour.

She joined that tour midway through 2011 after finishing her collegiate career at the University of Louisville, where she won five times. The 2010 Quebec amateur champion made seven cuts in 10 events last year, when her best finish was a tie for 15th.

“It was hard for me at first. I was inexperienced,” said the 2010 Big East Conference Player of the Year.

“It’s definitely a big adjustment. You’re on the road every day. You’re not sleeping in your own bed. You’re staying with people you don’t know. They’re wonderful and I got to meet wonderful people, but it’s not always easy to live out of your car,” she said.

“You’re seeing different cities all the time. You can’t really build a routine. You always have to be very adjustable, let’s put it that way,” said Juneau.

Any adjustments that she needed to make last year seemed to have a positive effect from the get-go in 2012 as Juneau tied for second at the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Fla., in March, a huge confidence boost.

“I worked hard during the winter. When that happened I was like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ so I was very excited. It was definitely a good boost and I was like, ‘Well if I put the effort in — results come from that,’ ” she said.

Six top-10s were scattered throughout her 2012 season, including a third-place finish at the Vidalia Championship in Georgia, the week before the season finale in Daytona Beach.

Of course, adjustments are ahead, just as it was in her first year on the Symetra Tour.

“I’ve played a couple of tournaments on the LPGA before, so it’s not going to be a first. I think I know a little bit about what I’m getting into. Obviously, it’s going to be an adjustment, so I hope it’s going to go as smoothly as this year went,” she said.

TOPS ON TOUR

A survey of Canadian Tour players named former NCAA champion Matt Hill player of the year on that circuit, with Eugene Wong of North Vancouver close behind ... Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and other stars will play in this week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya, Turkey. Not sure that’s a wise idea with Turkey possibly on the brink of war with Syria. The flip side of that argument is that the World Amateur Team Championship was played there last week and the Canadian team of Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., Albin Choi of Toronto and Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., left without incident after tying for sixth.

 

 


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