Just two weeks away from potentially achieving his lifelong dream, Canadian Brad Fritsch arrived in Ponta Vedra Beach on Monday in good spirits, knowing a good showing at this week’s Web.Com Tour stop — The Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open Presented by Planters — will all but lock up his 2013 PGA Tour Card.
Fritsch comes into the tournament 22nd on the Tour’s Money List, with the top 25 earning PGA Tour cards for the 2013 season. At the age of 34, this has been a long time coming for the Manotick, Ont., native, years of hard work that are finally set to pay off.
After playing the Canadian Tour from 2001-2006, Fritsch joined the Web.Com Tour (formerly known as the Nationwide Tour) in 2007, hoping it was his time to take the next step and make it to the PGA. Three disappointing seasons later, he was back on the Canadian Tour. It was there in 2010 and 2011 that his game started coming together, and after narrowly missing his card at PGA Tour Q-School last year, it was just a matter of getting onto a larger stage on the Web.Com Tour this season to propel him to where he wanted to be.
In 24 events so far in 2012, Fritsch has five top 10s and 16 made cuts, good enough for $172,000 and a $13,000 edge in the battle for top 25. As he tries not to look too far ahead, taking things one shot at a time in hopes his play will take care of his card, you can’t help but think that given his long and winding road it will be just a little sweeter than most if he can get it done.
Despite the years spent on the road away from his family (which includes wife Megan and three-year-old daughter Hannah) and the stress of missed cuts and small pay cheques, Fritsch says he never thought about leaving the game of golf.
“I always believed I was still getting better,” he said. “I was making enough to support my family and knew I could get to where I wanted to be if I kept at it.”
Now that he’s got a PGA Tour card within reach, don’t expect him to let it out of his grasp.
Should Fritsch get his card, he’s most looking forward to playing at Pebble Beach and in the Canadian Open, saying being a known Canadian in our national open would be something special. He also hopes to get a chance to play with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods; Mickelson because he’s a really good guy and Woods because it’s “just something you have to experience.”
Fritsch fired an opening round 68 in Ponte Vedra and sits t-15th heading into Friday’s second round. The Web.Com Tour wraps up next week in Texas at the Tour Championship, where the top 60 golfers on the Money List will duke it out one last time for the top 25 spots. In a country desperate for a new golfing star, here’s hoping Fritsch can grab one of them.