Cartagena, Colombia – Canadian Brad Fritsch and Web.com Tour rookie Ollie Schniederjans were deadlocked at 11-under-par 277 at the end of regulation. On the first playoff hole, Fritsch defeated Schniederjans with a par to win the Servientrega Championship presented by Efecty, his maiden Tour victory.
“This is huge,” said Fritsch, who collected a check for $126,000 at the trophy ceremony. “My whole golfing life I haven’t won a lot. This is easily the biggest win against the best field that I’ve ever faced.”
“I mean, obviously it gives me a nice jump on getting my card for next year,” continued Fritsch, who jumped to No. 5 on the Tour money list. “To do something I’ve never really done before and to execute under pressure on 18, I love it. I want that feeling again.”
Fritsch hit what he called the greatest shot in his life on the first extra hole. With 220 yards from the right side of the fairway, the 38-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta opted for a long iron and striped it to 20 feet under the hole. From there, Fritsch only needed to make par to claim his first trophy as Schniederjans pulled his tee ball into the pond left of the fairway.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but I hit a great shot,” said Fritsch, who hit his second before Schniederjans took a drop. “This time I hit the 4-iron, figuring that if I could get that on and two putt, he would have to get it up and down.”
Schniederjans took a drop; mishit is third from the left rough and dunked his third into the hazard. The 22-year-old former No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings took another penalty stroke and sailed the green with his fifth shot.
“It was kind of awkward,” said Fritsch, who received a standing ovation as he approached the green. “I had people congratulating me walking to the green and my caddy kind of gave me a high five.”
Fritsch tried to compose himself, but he still three putted for par. After the putt fell, the 16-year-old pro was overcome with emotion as his good friend and fellow Tour player Tag Ridings showered him with beer to celebrate.
The lead changed hands quite a few times throughout the final round. Schniederjans tied Fritsch at 11-under with a birdie on the 16th hole, but gave it right back with a bogey at 17. The Dallas, Texas native closed with a birdie at the par-5 18th to post 11-under to take the clubhouse lead. At that very moment, Fritsch bogeyed the 17th hole to drop one back of Schniederjans heading into the home hole.
“I was just trying to grind my way in,” said Fritsch. “I’m a scoreboard watcher and I’ll watch it. I knew he (Schniederjans) birdied 18.”
Fritsch responded on the final hole hitting a hybrid from 227 yards to just off the back of the green. He tried to chip it in, spun it two feet short of the hole and knocked in the birdie try to force overtime. The rest was history.
* Sunday weather: Sunny and windy, High: 91, Low: 82, Winds: N-NE 15-25 mph, gusts 42 mph.
* This week’s purse is $700,000, with $126,000 going to the champion.
* Brad Fritsch earns his first Web.com Tour victory in his 136th start.
* Fritsch is awarded $126,000 and moves from No. 108 to No. 5 on the Tour money list.
* Fritsch is the 14th different Canadian to win on Tour and second international player to win this season (Sebastian Munoz – Club Colombia Championship).
* Canada now accounts for 22 Tour wins thanks to Fritsch. Entering the week, Adam Hadwin was the last Canadian to find the winner’s circle (2014 – Small Business Connection Championship).
* Fritsch’s triumph comes at 38 years, 5 months and 1 day. He is the second player over 30 to win this season (Ryan Armour – Panama Claro Championship).
* Fritsch’s opening-round 71 is the highest start by a winner on Tour since the 2015 United Leasing Championship (Smylie Kaufman – 72).
* Fritsch’s victory is his first top 10 on Tour since a T2 at the 2015 News Sentinel Open. The win comes in his fourth start of the season.
* In the inaugural Servientrega Championship, Fritsch carded 68-70-74-83—295 for a T42.
* In 2014, Fritsch earned medalist honors at Web.com Tour Q-School. He opened the week with a 72, then fired 64-65-65-70-66 for a 27-under-par 402 total.
* Fritsch played Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada from 2001-06 and 2010-11. His best performance was a runner-up at the 2004 Bay Mills Open.
* Fritsch also serves as the Ambassador of Golf for the National Capital Open to Support Our Troops held at Hylands Golf Club August 18-21 in Ottawa, Ontario.
* Ollie Schniederjans moved up to No. 9 on the Tour money list with his best showing on Tour. Schniederjans shot 74 in the first round but battled back with 68-66-69, including a birdie on the par-5 finishing hole to force a playoff.
“Things are in a good place. I’m on top of everything I need to be doing. A lot of good golf is coming up and I’ll have a lot of good chances to win. I’m bummed that I didn’t get this one but it was a good experience, getting to play 18 holes on Sunday right there by the lead. I made some good putts and did really well just to get into this playoff. I hit okay drive and it just went through and into the water. I had to be aggressive when he hit it on in two. He played really well in the playoff hole and I didn’t really get the break I needed. So, good week though and a huge move toward getting my card this year.”
* The highest opening round by an eventual champion on Tour is Vance Veazey, 4-over 76 (1998 Shreveport Open).
* Bogey Free Rounds:
R1 – none
R2 – Andrew Putnam (64), Jason Millard (66), Kyle Thompson (66), Chase Narramore (67), Erik Barnes (69), Chase Marinell (70), Scott Gardiner (71),
R3 – Andrew Putnam (66), Kevin Tway (66), Wesley Bryan (66), Reid Edstrom (68)
R4 – Matt Atkins (67)
* Scoring Averages for the week:
Front (36) Back (36) Total (72)
R1 36.694 37.736 74.430
R2 35.978 35.858 71.836
R3 35.201 35.370 70.571
R4 36.077 36.400 72.477
CUM 36.116 36.506 72.622
* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour will take the next week off before heading to Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, for the $650,000 El Bosque Mexico Championship April 21-24 at El Bosque Country Club.