IT'S NICE TO WIN

DECEMBER 17 2014


Whenever you can be compared to Blake in the quintessential salesmen saga Glengarry Glen Ross, that's a good day.

"Let's talk about something important."

"You wanna work here? Close!"


Photo via PGA Tour


If there's anything in professional sports that comes close to David Mamet's monumental play-turned-movie about the stark existence of salesmen, it's professional golf.

First place is a Cadillac El Dorado.

Third place is you're fired.

Blake, the ruthless, sharp-tongued shark played by Alec Baldwin (his iconic speech was written into the movie because the play was too short), flips over a blackboard at one point when he's browbeating a sorry bunch of salesmen and points to the letters ABC.

Always. Be. Closing.

In the last round of the Web.com TOUR Qualifying School, Rideau View Golf Club's Brad Fritsch was closing.

Oh my, did he close.

Fritsch got his foot on the throat of the field and didn't let up, earning himself the biggest win of his career.

Six trips over PGA National's Champion and Fazio courses in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, took Fritsch deep to 27-under and to the top of the leaderboard and finished with him holding the trophy, earning a full exemption on the Web.com TOUR for 2015 and $25,000.

More important than the exemption, which gets him into every tournament on theWeb.com TOUR next season if he wished - and the money he earned for his remarkable total on tough tracks - punctuated by a final round 66 - was the journey Fritsch took as a pro and how he grabbed victory.

His only victory as a pro was at the 2006 Azores Open, over 54 holes against mostly other Canadian Tour players.

At Web.com Q-School, rounds of 72-64-65-65-70-66 earned him a seven-shot victory over Texan Andrew Landry, a three-time All-American at Arkansas.

Fritsch entered the sixth and final round with a five-shot lead and didn't let up.

He didn't waver. He answered every challenge with his own.

"I think it's more the win than the full exemption or the money. As a junior or as an amateur, I didn't win much. It's nice to win," he said.

"To sleep on that kind of lead and not limp home ... (Landry) was making putts and I was making putts. To shoot 5-under in that situation, I'm really happy with that round," he said.

"I never played with a lead like that before and now I know how it feels. I want to be that type of player, the kind of player who even when it's going good, they keep their head down and keep making birdies."

"I've been the guy who was happy to get it to 3- or 4-under. I didn't let the score dictate how I felt or keep me from trying to make birdies."

After finishing 151st on the PGA TOUR in the 2013-14 season and 105th in theWeb.com TOUR finals (the top 50 players earned their PGA TOUR cards), Fritsch lost his status on the big tour and will be playing the Web.com TOUR next season.

Now, after winning Q-School - and having to miss his brother Stephen's wedding to do it - he is fully exempt and can make his own schedule.

The top 25 money winners on the Web.com TOUR earn exempt status on the PGA Tour. That's how Fritsch graduated to the PGA Tour, where he played the last two years, in 2013.

Fritsch eagled the third hole and birdied the fourth Tuesday to rebuff Landry, who wouldn't go away.

Every time it looked like Landry might carve into Fritsch's lead and make it interesting, Fritsch replied.

"It got a little tight on 11," said Fritsch. "I was trying to hit the green from behind a tree. I tried to cut an 8-iron and it went straight, took two hops and went into the water."

Fritsch took a drop and flopped to six feet. Landry canned a putt from 30 feet.

"That could have been a three-shot swing and my lead could have been down to three shots, but I made it," said Fritsch, who made an adjustment to his putting for this tournament, raising his hands just a little.

He bounced back with a birdie on the next hole and, after Landry doubled 14, Fritsch put it away with another birdie on 16 in the infamous Bear Trap. He could walk down the 17th and 18th holes with caddie Jeff Scott (who did a magnificent job reading the immaculate greens), knowing his arms were wrapped around the win.

Fritsch played impressive golf when you consider four players tied at 8-under over four rounds at the 2014 Honda Classic over the Champion Course (Russell Henley won in a playoff that included world number one Rory McIlroy).

"I hope to just take the momentum into next year. I played fantastic this week," Fritsch said. "I can't believe the score I shot this week having been here for the Honda Classic before and seeing how difficult it could play. I'm really, really happy with the way I played."

He should be.

Fritsch closed impressively and now, with a win finally under his belt, maybe other doors will open?

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