Three weeks ago 38 year-old Brad Fritsch was not in any condition to do his job. Golf pros have to walk, after all.
Bipedal motion was not in the cards for him, at least not without some extra grimacing.
Pain in his foot and x-rays that identified bone spurs as a possible source, prevented him from returning to work on the Web.com Tour when it visited Louisiana.
Even as he packed the clubs and returned to play in Brazil last week he was still not quite 100%. Ice, ibuprofen and stretching dominated that week. Somehow he managed a tie for 44th, barely showing signs of a two month break.
This week he did one better in Colombia. Okay, a whole lot better.
The Manotick, Ontario native survived an extra hole affair on Sunday to win the Servienterga Championship presented by Efecty. Buoyed by a second round 65 that pushed him into the mix, the veteran tussled down the stretch with young talent Ollie Schneiderjans.
Fritsch proved his well and skill, however, making birdie on the short par 5, closing hole at TPC Cartagena to force a playoff at -11 overall.
The extra frame was a brief one as the players returned to the same hole where Fritsch turned in a par while his opponent crumbled to a triple bogey.
“This is huge,” said Fritsch after securing the victory. “My whole golfing life I haven’t won a lot. This is easily the biggest win against the best field that I’ve ever faced.”
“To do something I’ve never really done before and to execute under pressure on 18, I love it. I want that feeling again.”
For the victory Fritsch earns (USD) $126,000.
Since turning professional in 2000 his biggest previous wins were at the 2014 Web.com Tour Qualifying School and the 2006 Azores Open.
The win is significant for Fritsch, not only as it secures his status on the Web.com Tour for the next two years, but also puts him well into the top 25 on the money list. In fact he now moves to 5th on the 2016 order of merit after having played four events.
Should he stay there he’ll earn a return trip to the PGA TOUR as a member for 2017. He played that circuit in 2013 and 2014.
Wins on the Web.com Tour are nice, but the big tour? That’s the goal.
“I mean, obviously it gives me a nice jump on getting my card for next year,” the new champion noted.
Yes it does Brad. Yes, it does.
Fritsch is the 14th different Canadian to win on Tour and second international player to win this season (Sebastian Munoz – Club Colombia Championship).
Canada now accounts for 22 Tour wins thanks to Fritsch. Entering the week, Adam Hadwin was the last Canadian to find the winner’s circle (2014 – Small Business Connection Championship).
/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick