The Fayetteville Observer: Camels find home on Tour


Staff writer
The Fayetteville Observer

GREENSBORO - Traveling across Canada during the early years of their pro golf careers, David Mathis and Brad Fritsch roomed together.

As the two Canadian Tour regulars inched closer to their dreams of reaching the PGA Tour, they found a shared bond in one thing.

They both had some good tales to tell from their days playing golf at Campbell University.

"A lot of stuff goes on on those golf trips and most of it's funny," Fritsch said. "Most of (the stories) involve us getting yelled at by the coach after doing something stupid on the golf course."

As odd as it was for two former Camels to be bouncing around Canada together, both agree it's even more surreal to now cross paths as members of the PGA Tour.

Both Mathis and Fritsch are in the field at this week's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

"If I could have gotten some odds when we were both down at Buies Creek and say 'Hey, we're both going to play the PGA Tour at the same time,' people would have bet their entire lives that that wasn't going to happen," Mathis said.

Mathis finished Thursday's first round at 1-over par after carding three bogeys on the back nine.

Fritsch, teeing off in the day's last group, had a rough finish, notching two bogeys, a double and a triple on the back nine to go from 3-under through 11 holes to 5-over.

Fritsch, a 2000 Campbell grad who lives in Holly Springs, spent several seasons on the Web.com tour before finally earning a spot on the PGA Tour this year.

His difficult finish Thursday leaves Fritsch's hopes of reaching next week's FedEx Cup playoffs in jeopardy. He was three spots out of the top 125 in the points standings coming into the week.

Mathis, who lives in Raleigh, graduated from Campbell in 1997 and embarked on a winding path to the PGA Tour. He spent five seasons on the Canadian Tour and notched a pair of wins on the Web.com Tour before earning a spot on the PGA Tour in 2009. After losing his spot in 2010, he regained it in 2011.

His best finish that season was eighth at the Zurich Classic. He had two top 10s in 2012 and had this season's best finish earlier this month when he tied for fifth at the Reno-Tahoe Classic.

He's currently 166th in FedEx Cup points, meaning he'll likely have to secure a spot on the tour next year in the final events of the Web.com Tour's season.

"I'm in this spot every year, it seems like," Mathis said.

Back at Campbell, the pair left a mark. Mathis helped lead the Camels to back-to-back league titles in his final two seasons while Fritsch was named all-conference as a senior.

"A lot of talent goes through that program," Fritsch said. "A lot of it is luck and timing. Obviously, we've done all right for ourselves."

Staff writer Stephen Schramm can be reached at schramms@fayobserver.com or at 486-3536.