Brad Fritsch on verge of earning PGA Tour card

Manotick golfer Brad Fritsch needs to finish in the top 25 of the Web.com Tour to earn his PGA...

Manotick golfer Brad Fritsch needs to finish in the top 25 of the Web.com Tour to earn his PGA card. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/AFP)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:43 PM ET

OTTAWA - There have been times when Brad Fritsch doubted himself, unsure whether he would ever get a PGA Tour card, unsure he could finish off a dream he’s had since he spent so much time shaping his game as a kid at Carleton Golf and Yacht Club, then Rideau View Country Club.

He’s done a good job of erasing those doubts, both in his mind and on the golf course, on the Web.com Tour this season.

Manotick’s Fritsch, 34, is on the verge of grabbing that tour card, perhaps a week away from a ticket to compete against the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, finishing in a tie for 10th in the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open Sunday at Dye’s Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Fritsch shot a final-round 71 to finish at 1-under 279, nine shots off top spot, but good enough to move up to 21st overall on tour money list with $186,168 in earnings.

Fritsch needs to finish in the top 25 and there is just one event left in the Web.com Tour season — with the top 60 golfers competing in McKinney, Tex., this week. He is nearly $18,000 ahead of the 26th spot.

Fritsch had birdies on holes 3, 15 and 18, with bogeys on 4, 9, 12 and 17. The greens were “crazy fast.”

“It was just kind of a survival round,” he said. “I didn’t hit it great. I was a bit off and didn’t feel I played my best.

“Me and my caddy were doing the math coming down No. 18 and he said if I got a birdie, I should make it.”

Fritsch calmly drained the 10-foot downhill putt.

“Everybody’s kind of on edge,” he said “It’s wearing on all of us. Next week makes seven weeks in a row playing.”

Perseverance has paid off. There have been some downs in a roller-coaster ride, but some tremendous highs as well.

“There were some moments I could have packed it in during certain rounds,” he said. “But you hear stories about certain players who have missed getting their card by a couple of hundred dollars. I was able to grind it out.

“Sometimes you struggle with it. There’s so much time between shots and you think about what’s the worst that could happen. I’ve done a good job of trying to believe in myself.”

Fritsch, usually long and strong off the tee, was forced to hit plenty of hybrids into the tight fairways of the demanding course over the last four days.

“Fairways were A-1 this week,” he said. “The rough was so long, the ball would sink to the very bottom.”

When he gets to Texas, when everything is on the line, Fritsch is confident he can hold it together.

“I’m sure there will be moments where I’m calm and other moments when I’m freaking out,” he said. “The way I look at it, it’s been a great year. There have been so many things I’ve never done before. Whatever happens, I’m OK with that. There’s a number I’ve been looking at all year ... $185,000ish. That’s where I am at.

“If I get the card, that will be awesome. That’s what you work for. There are a whole bunch of people that didn’t think I could do it and exponentially more that thought I could.”

tim.baines@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @timcbaines 

TOUR TALK

The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour's money list at season's end earn 2013 PGA Tour cards. Here's a look at the race for some of the lower spots in the top 25 with one event left.

20. Nicholas Thompson $186,451

21. BRAD FRITSCH $186,168

22. Jim Herman $177,941

23. Hudson Swafford $174,478

24. Joseph Bramlett $171,673

25. Camilo Benedetti $168,941

26 .Doug LaBelle II $168,654

27. Paul Claxton $159,954

28. Alex Aragon $157,984

29. Chris Wilson $154,296

30. Michael Putnam $151,356


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