Brad Fritsch played college golf at Campbell, then spent the next 12 years trying to play his way onto the PGA Tour.
He played on the Canadian Tour. He played on the eGolf Tour. He was on and off what is now the Web.com Tour a few times, always striving to make the step up to the big tour.
There were some pretty lean years at first, Fritsch said Monday. Its been a journey. But little by little each year I made improvement.
And then he made it.
Fritsch, who lives in Holly Springs, finished among the top 25 money winners this year on the Web.com Tour, earning him playing rights on the PGA Tour for next year.
As Fritsch wrote on Twitter: Holy st. Im on the PGA Tour in 2013!!!!
Hes a bit sheepish about his tweet, saying he hopes the PGA Tour didnt mind the wording.
Fritsch will also head to the PGA Tour with an unusual sponsorship: from an NHL team.
Fritsch, 34, grew up in Manotick, Ontario, and calls himself a diehard Ottawa Senators fan. It made sense that he and the Sens struck a deal that will have him wearing a Senators logo on his golf shirts and golf bag and participating in community events in Ottawa.
I didnt know how unique it was but everything kind of fell into place, Fritsch said. (It) seems like a good fit.
Not that Fritsch is all about the Sens. He also lists the Carolina Hurricanes as another favorite, saying assistant coach John MacLean is a friend and noting he attended 25 games last season.
But golf is his game. He first picked up a club at age 5 when his father, Brian, was stationed at Pope Air Force Base. His mother, Carrie, was playing golf at the Fort Bragg Officers Club one hot summer day and Brad asked to give it a try.
The family soon moved to Canada, but Fritsch returned to attend Campbell on an academic scholarship. He walked on to the Camels golf team, and became an Academic All-American and team captain as a senior, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in criminal justice administration.
Coming to North Carolina was a bit of a culture shock, in the Southern Bible Belt, he said. Another shock was the amount of practice we had to do, 2 to 5 oclock every afternoon. I didnt have a great junior golf resume, and I figured out soon everyone is really good and I had to do that to play with them.
Pro golf proved to be a slow climb. Fritsch has plenty of length off the tee but was held back by his short game.
But Fritsch began working with teaching pro Patrick Kelley at Old Chatham Golf Club outside of Chapel Hill. He improved a half-shot in his average putts per round this year, which may seem minimal on the surface but can be highly significant on the golf course.
In 2009, he averaged 30.36 putts a round on the Web.com Tour and made $32,574. Returning to the tour this year, he averaged 29.82 putts and banked $212,168, 18th best on tour.
Fritsch had seven top-10 finishes this year. He tied for second in Septembers Mylan Classic and fourth in the Chiquita Classic, which was played at The Club at Longview outside of Charlotte late last month.
I played real solid golf, especially the last half of the year, he said.
Fritsch met his wife, Megan, on eHarmony and the couple later settled in the Triangle. They have a young daughter, Hannah, and are expecting again.
And the PGA Tour? He has played in a few events through the years but now he has a tour card.
Im looking forward to playing out there and looking forward to making it the new normal for me, Fritsch said. Yes, it will be a big change but I want to play week after week, where it feels normal.
Told some of the PGA Tour stars at times arent so accepting of newcomers, Fritsch said he didnt mind.
Ill just elbow my way in and say, Im here, what are you going to do about it, he said.
Sounds like another tweet.