The former Augusta State star earned his 2013 PGA Tour card by finishing tied for 22nd with former Jaguars teammate Patrick Reed at the final stage of Q-School two weeks ago. Norlander was the guest of honor at a members-only reception Friday night at Champions Retreat.
“This is pretty special,” Norlander said. “It’s special to be here. There’s great people everywhere.”
Champions Retreat co-founder E.G. Meybohm said: “It’s extra special, because he’s such a fine person. I can tell you without any reservations he’s a fine young man. And I think that’s going to serve him well on tour.”
After helping lead Augusta State to a pair of national championships in 2010 and 2011, Norlander spent this past year on the eGolf Tour. He won a tournament in September and finished 16th on the money list.
“My goal all year was to be as sharp as I could ever be entering Q-school,” he said. “I played my best golf the past three months.”
Norlander finished fifth at the PGA Tour Q-School pre-qualifying event. He followed the first stage with a tie for second and then a tie for 12th in the second stage. Norlander then opened the final stage with rounds of 67-74. From there, he climbed up the leaderboard.
On the final day, Norlander collected some early birdies and moved to 17-under for the event. At No. 8, his next-to-last hole, he missed a 3-foot birdie putt. At the final hole, Norlander faced a benign 30-foot, uphill putt only to hit it seven feet past. He collected himself and rolled in the putt.
“I told myself ‘Do your routine’ about thirty times,” he said. “I went up, hit the ball and it all went black. I heard it go in. It was just unreal.”
Now, Norlander is planning to begin his PGA Tour at the Sony Open on Jan. 10. He said he’ll play the next two events, take a week off then return to play Pebble Beach.
“The golf courses are going to be right in front of me,” Norlander said. “Obviously, I’m playing against better players, but I know I earned my spot there.”