w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider
There was a silver lining for Brad Fritsch in the dark clouds of Hurricane Matthew which forced the cancellation of the Web.com Tour Championship this week.
Fritsch, who already had his 2016-17 PGA Tour card sewn up, withdrew from the event at Florida’s Atlantic Beach Country Club and is in the path of the Category 4 storm, on Tuesday because of pain in his right ankle. The issue is not related to the gout in his left foot which kept him out of action for six weeks earlier this season.
The cancellation of the event means Fritsch will hang onto his ranking of 34th among the 49 cards handed out for the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. He likely would have tumbled down the list by not playing this week, making it tougher to get into events on the PGA Tour.
At this point, Fritsch will be in the field for the Safeway Open, the first event of the season, next week in Napa, Calif.
He said his ankle felt okay on Wednesday, but is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday. It bothered him enough to miss an event in March and has been nagging him.
He figures at number 34 on the priority list, he’d be right on the bubble for the Safeway Open and events in Las Vegas and Mexico. He should be in the field for the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.
“If I can get three or four of the first five, I’ll be happy about that,” Fritsch said.
The Web.com Tour usually awards 50 PGA Tour cards (49 this year because one player became otherwise exempt), 25 based on the money list and another 25 based on the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. The standings after three Finals events were deemed official.
Fritsch finished 18th on the money list with $194,857, much of it earned with his first Web.com Tour victory. The lists from the top 25 regular season money winners and the top 25 Finals money winners are integrated to determine the priority ranking for the start of the PGA Tour season.
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The cancellation of the Web.com Tour Championship is a tough break for the guys on the bubble at the Finals. Rob Oppenheim winds up 26th on the list, $392 behind the 25th man, Tim Wilkinson and $393 out of earning his PGA Tour card for 2016-17.
Oppenheim was last year’s bubble boy. He earned his card by finished 25th, $101 ahead of Eric Axley.
The wrapping up of the Web.com Tour season leaves Wesley Bryan, the regular season leader, and Grayson Murray, who won the Finals, fully exempt for the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.
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