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After three flights from Colombia and maybe an hour's sleep, Brad Fritsch finally got home.
Waiting at the airport in Raleigh, N.C., was his wife, Megan, and their kids, Hannah and Jesse, and a limousine.
"She's already spending that money," joked Fritsch of the $126,000 he won for the biggest win of the 38-year-old's career.
The spoils of victory. Holding a trophy aloft and smiling into the camera has its appeal, but it's tough to beat the look on the faces of your family.
The kids are going to want to get used to the limo rides, he was told.
"Spoiled," he said.
Fritsch was home, a winner on the Web.com Tour for the first time, 16 years chasing the sun, chasing a dream only to have it just outside his grasp or slip through his fingers.
He finally got his hands around it on Sunday, winning a one-hole playoff against American Ollie Schniederjans to capture the Servientrega Championship.
When he did, the feeling of it was almost too much.
"It all kind of hit me like in one moment," he said. Fritsch hasn't won much in his career. The Alexander of Tunis, one of Quebec's Big Three, as an amateur. The Azores Open in 2006 (they gave him a bag of cash. It was almost truly the winner's purse). He's been a good player - the first from the national capital region to play in a major (the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and again last year at Chambers Bay where he finished tied for 46th) and the first to graduate to the PGA Tour where he played in 2013 and '14 - but wins have been hard to come by.
There wasn't much to indicate this one was coming, either. Fritsch had missed a start earlier this year because of bone spurs in his foot which had him couch-bound. His previous finishes this season were T56, Cut, T44.
"I didn't really know what to feel," he told TSN 1200 about his win, "so it just kind of came out."
In a video clip on the Web.com Tour's website, Fritsch's voice catches as the significance of his victory, the money, the status on the Web.com Tour, taking a huge step closer to the PGA Tour, the contributions of his coach Patrick Kelley, it all catches up with him.
"I just played so well for four days, really. To hit those last two shots on 18 was just amazing. It's just awesome," an emotional Fritsch said. "It's huge for me. I love it. I can't believe it and I love it."
It was one of those days. While most of the golf world's attention was focused a few hours north in Augusta, GA, a personal drama played out for Fritsch.
The day had other significance for Fritsch. His friend, Pierre Dorion, was named the Ottawa Senators general manager on Sunday at about the same time Fritsch was teeing off for the final round.
Fritsch is a big Senators fan and Dorion loves golf and the Senators (along with Rideau View) stepped up to sponsor Fritsch when he earned his PGA Tour card in 2013. Fritsch was wearing a Senators logo when he hefted the winner's trophy on Sunday.
He was thinking about Dorion's career-fulfilling achievement in pursuit of his own on Sunday.
"It's too good a story not to happen," thought Fritsch.
And it did.
Not without some drama, though, of course. Fritsch had a three-shot lead through 10 holes, but he and Schneiderjans, who was playing a hole ahead, wound up tied after Fritsch made bogey on the par-3 17th hole. The wind was whipping all week - up to 35 mph, Fritsch estimated - and he wobbled over a three foot putt for par. It slipped by.
The wind was a beast all week. It took an 8-iron to go 105 yards into the wind; a pitching wedge on the wings of the wind sailed 210 yards. Fritsch got a chance to benefit from a windless window on Friday morning, playing 14 holes in relatively calm conditions and posting a 65, the second lowest round of the day to set up his weekend.
You ask a guy who wins, he'll almost always tell you that you need some kind of break.
When Schniederjans, a rookie pro who's the former top ranked amateur in the world, birdied the par-5 18th on Sunday to get to 11-under-par, Fritsch needed to do the same to force a playoff. He hit a hybrid 230 yards through the green and had a 15-foot eagle chip. He knocked it to about 2-1/2 feet and made the birdie to force the playoff.
If it had been any other Sunday than the one Jordan Spieth chose to hit two balls into the water on the 12th hole at Augusta National to lose The Masters, people might have been talking about poor Schniederjans knocking two in the water in the playoff. His first was off the tee.
Fritsch made his second great swing under pressure within about 30 minutes from the fairway of the 18th, a shot he figured was the best of his life. This time he hit a 4-iron 220 yards onto the green, leaving himself a 20-foot eagle putt. When Schneiderjans hit another one in the water, and then went over the green, Fritsch was high and dry.
He had five putts to win and only needed three of them.