Canada's Fritsch wins Qualifying Tournament
December 16, 2014
- December 16, 2014
- Brad Fritsch shot a 27-under 402 over six rounds at PGA National. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Canada’s Brad Fritsch carded a 5-under 66 at the Champion course at PGA National Resort and Spa Tuesday and coasted to a dominating win in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Fritsch assumed control of the six-day grind over the weekend with back-to-back 65s that distanced him from the pack. His lead was six shots after four rounds and five heading into Tuesday’s finale.
The 37-year old North Carolina transplant got off to a quick start with three early birdies and was never seriously challenged the rest of the day. His 27-under total of 402 was seven shots better than rookie Andrew Landry, who birdied the final hole for a 3-under 68 and solo second.
“I didn’t come here to shoot 27-under. I’m surprised,” said Fritsch, who collected $25,000 with medalist honors but more importantly earned full-exempt status on the 2015 Web.com Tour. “I couldn’t imagine coming here and doing that.”
Fritsch credited much of his success over 108 holes to a recent putting change, though he stuffed at least a half dozen to within tap in for birdies, and added a pair of eagles, which always helps.
“My wedge game was pretty good,” he said. “That takes a lot of pressure off.”
Fritsch cashed in early on the final day with an eagle-3 at No. 3 and then a birdie-3 on the following hole.
“It was fantastic to be three under through four today,” he said. “I can’t tell you how important that was. It basically eliminated all of the field, except maybe Andrew and I was watching what he was doing. I wouldn’t have been comfortable out there at even par because he was making some birdies and he would have been pretty close.”
Landry, a three-time All-American at Arkansas, was putting pressure on his playing partner and was still within shouting distance on the back nine but a double-bogey at the par-4, 14th dropped him to 19-under and seven off the pace.
While Fritsch eliminated the drama at the top of the leaderboard, there was still plenty to be decided. Those players finishing No. 2-10 each collected $15,000 and will be exempt for the first 12 or 13 events in 2015, while the group from No. 11-45 (and ties) each pocketed $10,000 and will be exempt from any re-ranking for eight or nine events.
Dustin Bray (66) finished third at 19-under par while Rhein Gibson rebounded from a triple bogey on his second and chalked up seven birdies en route to a 3-under 68 that put him solo fourth.
Tour newcomers Seamus Power (68) and Tain Lee (69) tied for fifth place with 16-under par totals.
“It's a big thing (medalist),” Fritsch said earlier in the week. “I spent the last two years worrying about it on the PGA TOUR. It'd be nice to get it out of the way. I've still got some decent status from last year on the Web.com Tour so I don't have as much pressure as some of the other guys. That's one of the reasons it's been a little easier for me this week.”
Fritsch finished No. 151 in the FedExCup standings on the PGA TOUR in 2013-14, which offers him limited PGA TOUR starts in the current season.
Every player in the field has earned, at a minimum, conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2015 by virtue of getting to the Qualifying Tournament Finals. More than 1,200 golfers entered Q-School this fall, with some having succeeded in up to three previous stages of qualifying.
Brad Fritsch earns medalist honors at Web.com Tour Q-school
SIXTH ROUND NOTES
* The top half of the field played the par-71 Champion course in round six and the lower half of the standings played the Fazio course (par 72). The Fazio course played 1.523 strokes easier than the Champion course on Monday.
* Rob Oppenheim registered the second hole-in-one of the week with his ace (5-iron) at the 205-yard, 5th hole on the Champion course. Oppenheim shot a 2-under 69 and finished 7 under for the week and tied for 43rd place.
* Texas rookie Cody Gribble chalked up eight birdies en route to a 6-under 65 on the Champion course and grabbed a top-10 finish. Gribble, a 2013 graduate of the University of Texas, wound up at 14 under and T8. Gribble made steady progress up the leaderboard after opening with rounds of 73-72 to put him T90. He closed with scores of 68-68-69-65 and moved to T68, T36, T28 and finally T8.
* Chattanooga’s Stephan Jaeger made a mad dash to the finish Tuesday. Jaeger, 25, was 1-over for the day when he made the turn on the Champion course. He turned the tables with a 7-under 29 on the back nine that vaulted him from 7 under to 14 under. His closing round of 65 was enough to push him to T8 after starting the day T28.
* The only player who was inside the top 10 after every round this week was Matt Fast: R1 67 – T6 R2 69 – T5 R3 67 – T2 R4 72 – T6 R5 68 – T3 R6 72 – T8 * Brad Fritsch bogeyed his final hole Monday for a 2-under 70, leaving him with a five-shot lead heading into Tuesday’s final round. Accurate PGA TOUR records for Q-school go back only to 1992 – here are the largest leads after five rounds since then: Year
Leader Led by Final Result 1997 Scott Verplank 7 strokes Medalist – won by 6 2004 Brian Davis 6 strokes Medalist – won by 1 2007 Frank Lickliter 5 strokes Medalist – won by 4 2008 Harrizon Frazar 5 strokes Medalist – won by 8 2014 Brad Fritsch 5 strokes Medalist – won by 7 * The largest winning margins at Q-school since 1992: 8 strokes Harrison Frazar 2008 7 strokes Brad Fritsch 2014 6 strokes Scott Verplank 1997 5 strokes George McNeill 2006 4 strokes Woody Austin 1994 4 strokes Frank Lickliter 2007
BRAD FRITSCH (27-under 402/1st)
* Fifth-round leader Brad Fritsch, 37, was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada but is now a resident of Holly Springs, North Carolina, which is about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh. Fritsch is a 2000 graduate of Campbell University, located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, about 20 miles southeast of his current hometown.
* Fritsch has made 27 cuts in 48 career starts on the PGA TOUR, where he was a full-time member the past two years. He has four career top-10 finishes with his best week coming at the 2014 Wyndham Championship (T8) where he was one shot back of the 54-hole leader. Fritsch finished the season making eight cuts in 18 starts and was No. 151 in the FedExCup standings. He has never held the lead after any single round on TOUR.
* Fritsch has made 105 career starts on the Web.com Tour, beginning in 2007. He has a pair of runner-up efforts at the 2012 Mylan Classic (T2) and the 2013 Web.com Tour Championship (T2).
ANDREW LANDRY (20-under 409/solo 2nd)
* Andrew Landry, 27, grew up in east Texas and went to Port Neches-Groves High School. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of Arkansas. Landry earned All-American honors three times and helped the Razorbacks to a runner-up finish at the 2009 NCAA Golf Championship (lost to Texas A&M in finals). He currently lives in Austin, Texas.
* Landry has missed the cut in his only three career starts on the Web.com Tour – 2009 Fort Smith Classic, 2010 WNB Golf Classic, 2011 Chitimacha Louisiana Open. He has not made a start in any PGA TOUR event to date.
RHEIN GIBSON (REE-in) (18-under 411/4th)
* Rhein Gibson, 28, was born in New South Wales, Australia but now calls Monkey Island, Oklahoma home. Monkey Island is a peninsula on the northern shore of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees near the town of Grove, which is in the northeast corner of the state.
* Gibson is a 2008 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University (Edmond, Oklahoma) and was a four-time NAIA All-American for the Eagles. He is listed in the book of world records for shooting a 16-under par 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond on May 12, 2012.
* Gibson has played in one PGA TOUR event – the 2014 Open Championship, where he was paired with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the third round at Royal Liverpool GC. He posted scores of 72-74-74-78 and finished 72nd.
* Gibson has played in five Web.com Tour events and made the cut in one. He was a Monday qualifier at the 2009 WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas and finished T27. Gibson shot an 8-under 64 and shared the first-round lead with Fran Quinn and Garrett Willis.
* Mark Silvers opened played Thursday with a 3-over 74 on the Champion course that left him T104. He also progressed up the board over the final five days, thanks in part to a 10-under 62 on the Fazio course in round four. Silvers closed with rounds of 69-71 and wound up T14.
* Best rounds of the day: Champion course 65 (6-under) Cody Gribble, Stephan Jaeger Fazio course 65 (7-under) Sam Chien * Leaders after each round: R1 Tain Lee 65 (7-under) led by 1 R2 Rick Cochran III 133 (10-under) led by 1 R3 Brad Fritsch 201 (15-under) led by 2 R4 Brad Fritsch 266 (20-under) led by 6 R5 Brad Fritsch 336 (22-under) led by 5 R6
Brad Fritsch 402 (27-under) won by 7 * Bogey-free rounds this week: R1 67 – Rob Oppenheim (FC) R2 65 – Jeff Corr (FC); 66 – Drew Scott (FC); 67 – Justin Peters (CC), Mikey Moyers (FC), Jack Wilson (FC), Matt Harmon (CC); 69 – Bubba Dickerson (CC), 70 – Scott Parel (CC) R3 65 – Frank Lickliter II (CC), Tain Lee (FC); 66 – Bryden MacPherson (FC); 67 – Chas Narramore (FC), Matt Atkins (FC), D.J. Trahan (FC); 68 – Ted Brown (FC), Huge Leon (FC) R4 62 – Mark Silvers (FC); 64 – Matt Harmon (CC), Oliver Goss (CC); 65 – Richy Werenski (FC); 67 – Will Kropp (FC); 68 – Marcelo Rozo (FC); 70 – Tyler Weworski (FC) R5 63 – D.H. Lee (CC); 65 – Rhein Gibson (FC); 66 – Jeff Gove (FC); 67 – Satoshi Kodaira (CC); 68 – Curtis Thompson (FC); 69 – Chris Thompson (FC) R6 65 – Sam Chien (FC); 66 – Aaron Goldberg (FC), Paul Claxton (FC), ; 67 – Brad Hopfinger (CC); 68 – Ryan Yip (FC), Si Woo Kim (FC), Seamus Power (CC); 69 – J.R. Myers (FC) * Scoring Averages for the week: The Champion (CC) Front (36) Back (35) Total (71) vs par R1 36.240 36.933 73.137 2.173 R2 35.520 36.067 71.587 0.587 R3 35.973 36.362 72.334 1.334 R4 35.560 35.440 71.000 0.000 R5 35.767 35.959 71.726 +0.726 R6
35.293 35.613 70.901 -0.093 Cumulative 35.725 36.069 71.795 +0.795 The Fazio (FC) Front (36) Back (36) Total (72) vs par R1 36.147 35.640 71.787 -0.213 R2 35.267 35.707 70.973 -1.027 R3 34.747 35.013 69.760 -2.240 R4 35.257 34.973 70.230 -1.770 R5 35.413 35.320 70.333 -1.267 R6
35.219 35.164 70.384 -1.616 Cumulative 35.342 35.304 70.647 -1.353
* The Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament was a six-day, 108-hole competition that ended on Tuesday Dec. 16. The tournament was contested at the PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion course (CC) and Fazio course (FC). The Champion course has played host to The Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR since 2007. The Fazio course plays to a par-72, while the Champion course plays to a par-71.
* There were nearly 1,200 entries for the tournament, which included previous Pre-Qualifying, First and Second stages that began in August.
* A total of 150 players began play on Thursday morning.
* Players in this event were competing for positions on the 2015 Web.com Tour priority ranking, which will be used to form tournament fields. The medalist (or co-medalists) will be guaranteed fully-exempt status next year. Players #2-10 (and ties) will be subject to the third reshuffle next year and players #11-45 (and ties) will be subject to the second reshuffle.
* This week’s medalist earned $25,000. Players #2-10 (and ties) collected $15,000 each. Players #11-45 (and ties) earned $10,000 each.
* There was one amateur competing this week – Edward Figueroa. He will have the option of joining the Tour and becoming a member at any point in 2015, but will have to join as a professional at that time. Figueroa is a resident of Naples, Florida, and has yet to complete his degree at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. He has posted scores of 74-71-83-68-70-73—439 (+10) and finished T130.