WATCH ABOVE: Global’s Rob Leth speaks with Canadian Brad Fritsch following his excellent final round shooting a 6-under 64.
Ile Bizard, Que—On Friday, when Brad Fritsch’s 30-foot putt found the bottom of the cup on the 18th hole at the RBC Canadian Open, he had no idea the good fortune that would result.
After all, even his family didn’t think it would be enough for the PGA Tour regular, from Manotick, Ont., just south of Ottawa, to make the cut at the tournament at Royal Montreal Golf Club. His father had gone to check out of the hotel, expecting his son wouldn’t play on the weekend.
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For Fritsch, it felt like a second chance. In a world of private jets and courtesy cars, of million-dollar endorsement deals and commercial appearances, Fritsch needs to take advantage of opportunities like the one presented at the Canadian Open.
“I felt lucky to be playing with the house money,” he said after his final round, where a back nine 30 on the final day propelled him up the leaderboard.
Real house money, it turns out. Fritsch was having a miserable year, but with two young children, the golfer needed to upsize his living arrangements in Holly Springs, North Carolina. He is in the midst of renovating his house—and the $153,900 he made for his T9 appearance at the Canadian Open will go a long way to paying that tab.
It is Fritsch’s biggest payout as a professional. Fritsch is known as frugal, once splitting a $39 hotel room with fellow Canadian Adam Hadwin. The payday comes at a great time, it turns out.
But even with his success, there’s a reality he’s dealing with.
“Let me give you an example: Ten guys booked a charter to go to Reno at $3,000 a seat. I’m not going to pay that,” he says, laughing. “I’m going from Ottawa for $600 on a flight that includes two stops. For a guy who makes $1-million a year for several years, they can do that. I’m not there yet.”
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One of six Canadians in the field, Fritsch wasn’t the top Canuck. That went to Weyburn, Sask.’s Graham DeLaet who struggled Saturday after tying the course record in the second round, but rebounded with a 2-under 68 to finish in a tie for seventh, a shot ahead of Fritsch.
Despite some struggles with his putter, DeLaet said perhaps he expected too much from himself after being two shots off the lead and tied for third after Friday’s round.
“You can’t really force it in this game,” he said. “But all in all, I was pleased with the way I played. I was pleased with the way I handled myself for the most part and can’t wait until next year.”
Other Canadians who played in the weekend included big-hitting Toronto amateur Taylor Pendrith, who finished at T43, Abbotsford, BC’s Hadwin and Brantford, Ont.’s David Hearn, who finished in a tie for 53rd, and Brights Grove, Ont.’s Mike Weir was T66.