After getting off to a slow start in Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga., the former Augusta State All-American bounced back in a big way. Norlander posted a pair of 2-under-par 70s to win one of 10 U.S. Open sectional qualifiers held around the country.
With his two-shot victory, Norlander advances to play in his first major tournament, June 12-15, at Pinehurst No. 2.
“I’m just really excited,” he said. “I’m going to try to think of it as just another tournament. I just want to have fun.”
Aiken’s Kevin Kisner will join Norlander at the U.S. Open. Kisner posted rounds of 69-66 to tie for third in Memphis, Tenn.
On Monday evening, Norlander, 27, drove back to Augusta. Today, he flies to Ohio for the Web.com’s Cleveland Open, which runs Thursday-Sunday. Then, he’ll head to North Carolina.
Norlander, who helped lead the Jaguars to NCAA Division I national championships in 2010 and 2011, gave himself a busy schedule thanks to a recovery from a 2-over start through nine holes.
He bogeyed Nos. 10 and 14 at Ansley’s Settindown Creek Course, but he never wavered. Norlander birdied four holes on the front nine to turn his day around.
With the site offering only two U.S. Open spots to 31 players in the field, Norlander gave himself a chance with 18 holes remaining. Also, he had former Jaguar teammate Carter Newman – the man known as “Capt. Clutch” for his play during Augusta State’s NCAA title run – caddie for him. In the final round, Norlander said he felt comfortable.
“It didn’t feel like a U.S. Open qualifier,” he said. “We just had a good time.”
With his fellow competitors making mistakes down the stretch, Norlander climbed into first place. Then, he sealed the event when he fired a 7-iron from 184 yards out to six feet for birdie at the par-3 17th.
“I’ve played well all year. I just haven’t put everything together,” said Norlander, who is No. 43 on the Web.com money list. “I had one goal this week. I just wanted to stay patient.”