Contact: Stan Cole
Former Campbell Golfer Brad Fritsch Qualifies for U.S. Open
SUMMIT, N.J. Campbell University alum Brad Fritsch won a two-hole playoff on Sunday and earned a berth in the 2006 U.S. Open golf championship, which will be played June 15-18 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
A two-time Academic All-American (1999, 2000) at Campbell, Fritsch shot 72-66138 on June 5 at Canoe Brook Country Club, then won a five-man playoff for the last of 18 qualifying spots. He played in same sectional qualifying field with two-time major winner Mark O'Meara and 16-year-old Michelle Wie (but not in the same group).
The 28-year-old native of Manotick, Ontario became the first Campbell alum to win a spot in a major championship since 1973 graduate Jay Overton played in the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree.
"It's a dream to play in the U.S. Open, but just hope that I can separate that once I'm there, and recognize that it's a great opportunity to play well and help further my career," said Fritsch, who has advanced to the second stage of the PGA Tour Q-school four times. "I'll be playing one of the more revered courses in the U.S., and I'm thankful for the opportunity. But I can't afford to look around once I'm there, I've just got to figure out how to beat as many people as I can.
A member of the Canadian Tour since 2001, Fritsch was named the CanTour's Most Improved Canadian in 2004 with four top-10 finishes, including a season-ending runner-up showing at the Bay Mills Open Players Championship. Fritsch also qualified for the 2001 PGA Tour Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. He was the 2000 Ottawa Amateur champion, co-medalist at the 2000 Canadian Amateur and was a U.S. Amateur participant that same year.
During his Fighting Camel career, Fritsch was twice honored as a GTE Academic All-America Spring at-large team member in voting by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He earned third-team honors in 1999 and second-team recognition in 2000. Fritsch compiled a 3.8 grade-point average as a criminal justice major and was presented Campbell's Easley Senior GPA Award in April 2000 at the University's annual Athletics Award Ceremony for compiling the highest cumulative GPA among graduating student-athletes.
He earned Trans America Athletic Conference All-Academic honors in each of his four years at CU and was a second-team All-TAAC selection as a senior when he finished ninth in the 2000 league championship. He posted four top-10 finishes during his final year, including a victory at Campbell's own Lonnie D. Small Memorial tournament. Among his top-five finishes were a third-place showing at the West Florida Collegiate and a fourth-place performance at the Wyoming Intercollegiate.
Fritsch joins Champions Tour member Jay Overton as former Camels to compete in a major PGA event. Overton won the 1972 NAIA National Championship and is now a member of the school's Hall of Fame.
Former Camel David Mathis, now a member of the Nationwide Tour, also advanced through local U.S. Open local qualifying at Chapel Hill, N.C. Last weekend, Mathis enjoyed his best finish on the Nationwide Tour at the Rex Hospital Open, held at his home course, TPC Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C., where he finished 14th overall.
Mathis earned his Nationwide Tour card for 2006 after playing 2001-2005 on the Canadian Tour. He finished fourth on the 2005 CanTour money list. Mathis was an All-Big South Conference performer in 1993 and 1994 when he led the Camels to back-to-back league titles.