PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – From where Henrik Norlander stands on the Web.com Tour Finals money list, there’s only one way to approach the final event of the series: Attack.
“There’s no trying to finish 20th,” said the young Swede, who matched his best round of the Finals with a 4-under 66 to open the Web.com Tour Championship.
“I’ve just got to go out and be aggressive, and I like that. If I don’t play well, I don’t play well. I’ll start over on the Web.com [Tour]. I’ve never played on the Web.com, but I’m young and not too worried.”
Norlander, 26, bypassed the Web.com Tour level when he went straight to the PGA TOUR from last year’s qualifying process. Though he made 13 cuts in 22 starts, he never finished higher than 15th and ended the season at No. 159 in FedExCup points.
“I may have looked too much at cut lines,” he said. You only have one option -- play well. And if you don’t, you don’t. That’s how I did it at Greensboro and I finished 16th. That’s the way I need to play every time.”
Norlander, who helped Augusta State to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2010 and ’11, came to Dye’s Valley off missed cuts at the Chiquita Classic and Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. He stands No. 85 on the Finals money list
It was one of several lessons Norlander gleaned from his rookie season, which included simply getting accustomed to being around big-name pros he’d only seen on TV previously.
On his first day preparing for his PGA TOUR debut in Hawaii, Norlander found himself on the range sandwiched between Davis Love III and Hall of Famer Vijay Singh.
“I’m worrying if my divot’s going to be flying somewhere in front of them, instead of focusing,” he said. “Everyone told me, ‘You earned it, take your spot out there.’ But I think everyone goes through that at some point.”
Norlander said he also learned he needs to conserve his energy and not wear himself out with too much practice. This week, he came in early and got 18 holes in Monday, followed by two days of light practice.
“You’re not going to lose your swing just because you only practiced one hour on Wednesday,” he said.