Palm Beach Gardens, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Brad Fritsch carded a third- round, 7-under 65 on Saturday and he grabbed a 2-shot lead heading into the fourth round of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Fritsch ended 54 holes at 14-under-par 201, which is two strokes better than second-round leader Rick Cochran and Matt Fast. Fritsch has played on the Web.com Tour over the last couple seasons, but he has yet to pick up a victory. Fritsch played on the Fazio Course Saturday.
Play rotates over the par-71 Champion Course and the par-72 Fazio Course at PGA National for the six-round tournament.
Cochran shot a 2-under 70 in his third round and he fell back into second place with Fast (67) at 12-under 203. Ted Purdy and Andrew Landry both fired 70s on Saturday. Purdy is alone in fourth at 11-under, while Landry is fifth at 10-under 205. Cochran, Fast, Purdy and Landry all played on the Fazio Course.
Fritsch, beginning the day in fourth place, started off on fire. Following a par at the first, Fritsch drained four birdies over his next five holes on two, three, five and six. After two more pars on seven and eight, Fritsch closed out his strong front nine with another gain on the par-4 ninth.
A bogey on No. 11 had Fritsch stumbling a bit, but he responded in a big way with an eagle on the par-5 12th, getting him to 6-under on the day. Fritsch closed out his round well as he made five pars from 13 before making a birdie at the last.
"I didn't come here thinking I would win," Fritsch admitted. "My overall goal is to improve my status. Obviously I'm playing well now so I can think about that . We're only halfway there but I'm hitting my shots where I'm looking so that's positive, and if I keep doing that I'll have a chance."
Cochran, attempting to hold onto his lead, did not have a great front nine. After a birdie at the second, Cochran tripped to bogeys on three and seven, putting him at 1-over as he made the turn.
Then Cochran went on a run on the back side as he ran off four birdies over six holes from No. 12, getting him to within one of Fritsch. Cochran finished up with a bogey at the last, however, dropping him back by two shots heading into the fourth round.
Fast started his day with a bogey on No. 2, but that was the only blemish on his card for the day. Fast poured in back-to-back birdies on four and five to get him into red numbers at 1-under.
After making the turn with six straight pars from six, Fast drained three straight birdies from 12. Fast finished up strong as well, making three pars on 15, 16 and 18 to go along with a birdie on 17.
NOTES: Fritsch's best finish on the Web.com Tour last season came at the Rex Hospital Open, where he tied for fourth ... Fritsch had four top-10 finishes on tour last season ... The Champion Course has hosted the PGA Tour's Honda Classic since 2007 ... This is a six-day event. The final round will be played on Tuesday.