Aug 20, 2017: Australian Jason Norris kept his cool to sign for a closing five-under-par 67, claiming the biggest victory yet in his 21-year professional career with a convincing four-shot victory at the tri-sanctioned Fiji International on Sunday. India’s Rahil Gangjee and Shubhankar Sharma scored five-under-par and four-under-par totals and tied at T20 and T24 respectively.
Norris, who was thinking of quitting the game a few years ago, revived his career after firing eight birdies against three bogeys to cap a winning total of 14-under-par 274 at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.
The 44-year-old Norris takes home a winner’s prize purse of US$195,421 and moved to seventh place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, courtesy of his victory at the A$1.5 million (approximately US$1.14 million) event.
“I didn’t think I would be here. Today I felt good, I felt like a champion, I felt like I was in a good spot.” Jason Norris, 44.
Young Thai talent Jazz Janewattananond fired the week’s lowest round score of 64 to grab a share of second place alongside Australian duo David McKenzie and James Marchesani, who closed with rounds of 67 and 70 respectively at the Fiji International.
Overnight leader Wade Ormsby of Australia battled to a 73 to finish five shots back in fifth place with compatriots Adam Bland (65), Daniel Pearce (69) and Peter Wilson (70) in the event tri-sanctioned for the first time by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
- Norris had planned to go to the Asian Tour Qualifying School for the 2018 season next January. He does not need to go now as he gets a two-year exemption on the region’s premier Tour with this victory. He also earned playing rights on the European Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
- Norris had previously played on the Asian Tour in 2009. He missed three cuts out of 11 starts that season and his best result was a tied-15th place finish at the SAIL Open in India. He returned to the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2015 but did not make the mark.
- Norris, 44, claimed his third and last victory on his local Tour in 2010. His victory at the Fiji International is his fourth professional win and the first outside of Australia.
- Norris hit a total of 16 greens in regulation in his final round of 67. It is the most number of greens in regulation that he has hit in a single round this week. He took 29 putts in his closing round of 67.
- Jazz, 21, claimed his breakthrough win at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open in February to regain his playing rights on the Asian Tour. Prior to his tied-second place result at the Fiji International, he has notched three other top-10s in Chinese Taipei and his home country Thailand.
- Jazz moved up two spots to sixth on the Order of Merit after taking home US$87,434, thanks to his tied-second place result at the Fiji International.
- Jazz missed only one green in regulation in his closing round of 64, which is the new course record on the redesigned Natadola Bay Championship Golf course. He amassed a total of 28 putts, including an eagle-putt from 25 yards on the par-five 17.
- Vincent was named the Asian Tour rookie of the year in 2016 after he ended the season in 28th position on the Order of Merit. His tied-ninth place finish at the Fiji International is his first top-10 results this season. This result also saw him break into top-60 on the latest Order of Merit where he now sits in 40th place with a current haul of US$43,323.