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Rideau View member Brad Fritsch locked up a PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season with the $57,200 he earned for his tie for second at the El Bosque Mexico Championship on Sunday, coming on the heels of his biggest win as a pro two weeks ago in Colombia.
Fritsch has earned $186,898.58 this season and moved up to second on the Web.com Tour money list. The top 25 players earn their 2016-17 PGA TOUR cards. It took $161,102 to nail down the 25th spot last season.
It's important to finish as high as possible on the list. The top money winner is fully exempt for next season while the number of starts for the rest of the players declines the farther down they are on the list.
Harold Varner III was the 25th man on the money list last season and he's managed to get into 16 events on the PGA TOUR this season. He's helped himself with a couple of top 10 finishes including a T9 at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday. He had a T5 and a T13 early which helped him when they reshuffled the priority list.
Fritsch, gunning for two wins in a row, had a two-shot lead going into the final round Sunday, but fell victim to some great play by Wesley Bryan who had a 67 that was good for a four-shot win over Fritsch, who had a 73, and Richy Werenski.
The turning point was the par-3 seventh hole where Bryan hit an 8-iron to 15 feet and Fritsch hit his tee shot in the water and made double bogey. That was a three-shot swing.
Bryan won for the second time this season, took over No. 1 spot on the money list and is one win away from the performance promotion that would send him right to the PGA TOUR.
Afterwards, Fritsch (@BradFritsch) tweeted: "Didn't quite have it today...but awesome round @wesleybryangolf to win. Congratulations! Thank you all for the positive messages all week!"
Fritsch's outstanding results in the last couple of tournaments has been fuelled by his demolishing of the par-5s.
He was 11-under on the par-5s in his first Web.com Tour victory two weeks ago at the Servientrega Championship.
He was even better in Mexico, going 16-under par on the par-5s.
That's 27 under par on the par-5s in his last two tournaments. No wonder he won and finished tied for second.
That's propelled him from 108th on the money list three weeks ago to second.
Coming Up: The United Leasing and Finance Championship at the Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind. Smiley Kaufman, a winner on the PGA TOUR this season, was the winner last year and it helped propel him to the TOUR. Fritsch finished T75.
HENDERSON HAS ANOTHER TOP 10
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls had a 4-over-par 76 in the final round of the Swinging Skirts Championship in windy, difficult conditions at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco and that was good enough to finish in a tie for sixth, her eighth-straight top 10 finish (nine if you want to count an LET event in Australia).
She wound up eight shots behind Haru Nomura of Japan, who won for the second time this season.
"I'm really happy with the top-10s," Henderson said. "I think every tournament, though, there's been a day or a couple shots that I'd like to get back, but everybody has those, so I think just continuing to be more consistent and continuing to be a little bit better."
Henderson won $51,438 to bring her 2016 total to $426,550.
You have a round with just 10 pars and it's going to be interesting, right? It was a rollercoaster round for the usually consistent 18-year-old as she hit only 10 greens in regulation. She started with a double bogey on the first hole. There was a birdie on the third hole, another double on 13 and bogeys on 7,11 and 12. After the double on 13, Henderson rallied with birdies on 14 and 15.
Henderson averaged 261 yards off the tee for the week. She was up around 268 yards for the first, second and fourth rounds and averaged 238.5 in the third round, her only bogey free round of the week and the only round in which she broke 70 (69).
How tough was the wind and the conditions at Lake Merced? Not one of the players who started Sunday in the top 10 broke par. Ten players broke par on the day and the low round of the day was 70 by Eun Hee Ji.
Alena Sharp of Hamilton had a 71 and moved up 34 spots.
She's been working with coach Tristan Mullally on a more penetrating ball flight and it seems to be paying off. She played well in windy conditions at the ANA Inspiration, too.
Nomura is heading for Las Vegas to celebrate her win.
"I love playing blackjack, so that's what I plan to do," she said. "When I get there, I'm just going to drop off my luggage and go."
Coming Up: The Volunteers of America Texas Shootout presented by JTBC this week in Irving, Tex. Inbox Park is the defender.
A GOOD MONDAY MORNING FOR CHARLEY HOFFMAN
Last week we were telling you about Hoffman's struggles on the weekend, particularly on Sundays. He ranked 200th out of 201 players in final round scoring.
He's had a couple of 36-hole leads this season and didn't get a sniff as he has failed to break 70 in the final round (80-70-73-75-75-76-74-75 were his final rounds this season going into Sunday).
So you can imagine how good that felt for him when his birdie putt from nine feet went in on the 18th hole at the Valero Texas Open, giving him the fourth win of his PGA TOUR career.
"This is my fourth win," Hoffman told reporters after the round. "That was the hardest one I've had."
Golf is the Pillar family business.
Martin Piller finished tied for fourth at the Valero Texas Open, his best finish on the PGA TOUR and cashed his biggest cheque, $233,740.
In San Francisco, his wife, Gerina Pillar, finished tied for third. It's her fourth top 10 in 2016.
She was able to watch Martin for a bit before she teed off.
"I got a few updates," said Gerina. "One of my cousins was watching so she was kind of giving me an update of what was going on. It's actually kind of cool because it kind of took my mind off of my game and what I had to do today, and just because it's so windy. I was kind of more worried about him than I was my own game."
Gerina earned $116,903.
That's a total of $350,643 for the Piller household. Not a bad week's work.
Coming Up: The Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana. Justin Rose was the winner last year.