MCKINNEY, TEX. - Brad Fritsch can see the finish line.
He can feel it.
Just 18 more holes and the professional dream of a lifetime can be fulfilled for the golfer from Manotick, Ont., as he is on the cusp of being among the top 25 players on the Web.com Tour’s year-long money list and is in position to earn a card for the 2013 PGA Tour Sunday afternoon.
Fritsch had an even-par Saturday and slipped from a tie for second place to a tie for 11th at TPC Craig Ranch at 6-under par, six back of the lead. After starting the week in 21st place on the Web.com Tour, the math certainly works in his favour to not just maintain that position but improve on it.
As he walked off the fifth green Saturday afternoon, the scoreboard was predicting he could move up to 17th place on the money list.
“I’ll be happy when it’s over. I know some people have said I’ve got a 99% chance (of finishing in the top 25, before the week even started). I feel like there are enough combinations out there (to work against him) and I don’t know if I’m panicking internally or not, but I just feel like I’ve got to play well (Sunday),” Fritsch said.
He started the week with $186,168, an almost $18,000 lead on 26th place.
“They were projecting that 25th place would be just over $180,000 and I already have that. There’s still a lot of (stuff) that can go wrong (Sunday). I just want to play well.”
Fritsch was passed by a bunch of players on Saturday, showing what par was worth around here as the wind calmed down from Friday and the skies were clear. Thirty-seven players in the 60-man field broke par Saturday, led by James Hahn whose 7-under par 64 vaulted him into a tie for top spot with Justin Hicks.
Fritsch started the day with only Hicks ahead of him but is now part of a 14-man group within six shots of the lead.
He didn’t have much going for him Saturday. When he did give himself some reasonable chances at birdie, his putter, usually dependable, refused to get with the plan.
Fritsch had just one birdie and that was from about a foot at the short, par-4 14th where he drove pin high and pitched up.
He had just one bogey, on the par-4 12th after he split the fairway with his drive then knocked it into a bunker and failed to get up and down.
“It was evident early I didn’t have my best stuff and that might have heightened the anxiety a little bit,” he said. “To come away with just one bogey on the day was pretty good, I thought. All in all, I didn’t kill myself.”
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., meanwhile, kept himself in the mix with a 3-under-par 6, putting him in a tie for eighth, five shots back of the lead. He started the week in 48th place on the money list and likely needs to finish second to have a shot at getting into the top 25. Still, another good round today and he will likely move within the top 40 and earn himself a trip to the final Q-School in December.
“What am I? Five back? There was a 64 shot today ... I’m feeling good. I made a lot of good putts and a ton of good swings. I’ll have a chance Sunday and that’s all I need, just a chance to go for it.”
Richard Scott of Windsor, Ont., had a second straight round of 74 on Saturday and sits in a tie for 58th spot at 7-over par.