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ILE-BIZARD, Que. - Brad Fritsch said he felt like he was playing with house money on the weekend at the RBC Canadian Open.
It turns out he was winning house money.
Fritsch's spectacular closing 6-under par 64 vaulted him into a tie for ninth place - equaling his previous best finish on the PGA Tour - and the $153,900 he earned - his biggest cheque ever on the PGA Tour - will go towards adding an upstairs living room and man cave to the Fritsch homestead in Holly Springs, N.C.
House money? After making a 30-foot putt Friday to make the cut on the number and squeeze into the weekend play, Fritsch came close to hitting the jackpot Sunday.
The weekend saw the Rideau View Golf club member go 9-under par for the two rounds and rocket up the leaderboard. He started Saturday morning in a tie for 63rd place and wound up matching the T9 he had at last year's Farmers Insurance Open.
"I played great today. I didn't get much out of the front nine - I felt kind of jilted - but the back nine I made a bunch of putts and I was able to hit some really good shots coming down the stretch which made me really happy. Sixteen and 18 are two of the toughest holes you'll see out here. Great drives and great second shots and that's all I can ask."
Fritsch played his last 39 holes without a bogey. He had seven birdies and an eagle - from 31 feet on the 12th hole Sunday - and gave himself good chances on the tough closing holes. He had a chance to equal the course record of 63 set by David Morland and matched Friday by Jim Furyk and Graham DeLaet and by Dickey Pride Sunday, but his putt from 11 feet just missed.
"I saw that Dickey shot 63 already. It seems like five or six guys have (the course record). That didn't enter my mind. We were kind of confused with the line and we weren't certain what it would do, so we just played it straight. I felt like I hit a good putt and I was hoping it would drop in with as little speed as it had but unfortunately it didn't. I think I hit a pretty good putt. That's all you can do."
Fritsch was the low Canadian on the leaderboard for a stretch before Saskatchewan's Graham DeLaet birdied the 16th hole to nip him by a stroke for the Rivermead Challenge Cup, awarded to the top Canuck.
"I actually saw that Fritschy made a move today, so that was great to see him play well," said DeLaet. "I mean, you always want to be the low Canadian. Going into the weekend, I wanted to try and win the golf tournament, but it was a strong field of Canadians there this week and I'm proud to be the low guy."
Fritsch gave himself some momentum going into the Barracuda Championship next week in Reno, Nev. Sunday's cheque vaulted him 20 spots on the money list to 148th place ($419,991) in pursuit of a top 125 spot and a card for next season.
Richard Lee currently holds down the 125th spot with $618,443.
Fritsch will return to Ottawa to fulfill his duties as the ambassador for the PGA Tour Canada's Forces and Families Open in two weeks and play in the Rideau View Pro-Am.
He will also get a start at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., Aug. 14-17.
At that point he will find out if he's qualified for the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs by cracking the top 125 or will be going to the Web.com Tour's four-event fall finish to determine playing privileges on the PGA Tour for next season.
After a T13 at the John Deere Classic a couple of weeks ago - which featured a Saturday 63 - Fritsch is playing some great golf right now.
"I feel like I can make some hay right now," he said Sunday after doing a tour of interviews with various media outlets. Some back issues forced him to withdraw from a couple of events earlier this year and put a dent in his push for the top 125.
"I put myself a lot behind the 8-ball this year," he said. "I'm starting to crawl out of it and that's all I can ask for."