Sweden’s Norlander wins Web.com Tour Finals opener
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Sweden’s Henrik Norlander won the Web.com Tour Finals-opening Hotel Fitness Championship on Sunday to wrap up a PGA Tour card.
Norlander shot a course-record 10-under 62 at Sycamore Hills to beat Michael Thompson and third-round leader D.H. Lee by three strokes.
Six strokes behind Lee at the start of the round, Norlander earned $180,000 after finishing 47th on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list. The 28-year-old former Augusta State player had only nine putts in a front-nine 30 and 21 for the round.
“I got off to a great start,” Norlander said. “I made a bunch of putts on the front nine and was six-under and kept it going on the back nine and hit some really good shots on some tough holes.”
Thompson closed with a 65, and Lee had a 71.
The four-event series features the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, Nos. 126-200 from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members of the tour who earned enough money to have placed in the top 200 had they been eligible to receive points.
The top 25 players on Web.com regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship. The other players are fighting for another 25 cards based on their earnings in the series.
Norlander had a 19-under 269 total. He hit to a foot to set up a birdie on the 228-yard, par-3 11th.
“I felt like on 11 it flew perfect and rolled up to a foot and I felt like, `OK, might be my day,’” Norlander said. “I had a tap-in from 228, which was big.”
He birdied the par-3 14th to take the lead after hitting the flagstick, birdied the par-4 16th extended his advantage with another birdie on the par-4 17th, and parred the par-4 18th.
“Once I saw the ball in the fairway on 18, I felt pretty calm,” Norlander said about the dogleg left. “I like to hit the ball left to right and it’s just a nasty shot for me, so it was always in the back of my head that I had to hit that shot and was able to hit a good one.”
Thompson, the winner of the PGA Tour’s 2013 Honda Classic, was 146th in the FedEx Cup standings. Lee, from South Korea, was 15th on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list to earn a PGA Tour card. They each earned $88,000.
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, tied for fourth with Hiroshi Iwata at 14 under. Saunders closed with a 69, and Iwata shot 66.
Canadian Brad Fritsch finished with a 3-under 69 to sit T15. Roger Sloan posted at 2-under 70 for a share of 58th.