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After 21 years Norris finally plays his way to Europe

(Photo: PGA of Australia)
After more than 20 years as a professional Jason Norris has earned himself a card for one of the world’s major tours with a stunning victory at the Fiji International.

The 44-year-old journeyman blitzed the field with a blistering front nine to pass overnight leader Wade Ormsby then held on over the closing stages for a comfortable four shot victory.

Winning the tournament, co-sanctioned with both the European and Asian Tours alongside as the PGA Tour of Australasia, gives Norris access to both international circuits for the next two years.

Playing with Ormsby in the final pairing of the day Norris made his intentions clear early with a birdie at the 1st and two more at the 2nd and 3rd.

A bogey at the 5th stung the South Australian and he closed out the front nine with three straight birdies to take control of the tournament.

Two birdies and two bogeys on the inward journey added up to a 67 for Norris and a four-day total of 14-under, four clear of Thailand’s Jazz Janewattanond, David McKenzie and promising Victorian James Marchesani.

An emotional Norris said after his round he had considered giving up the game last year and was overhwlemed with the opportunities now before him.

“It’s taken me 21 years to have a win like this and what a great thrill with my good mate Ace on the bag,” he said,

“Now I’ve got a start in Europe and Asia as well as Australia now. I was going to quit the game about a year ago and now I’m playing all over the world so it means a lot to me.”

It was an impressive final round from Norris but needed to be on a Natadola Bay course that was vulnerable to low scoring.

The first group out Sunday, Janewattanond and Adam Bland, combined for 13 birdies and two eagles as both rocketed up the leaderboard and into the top five on a day when 19 players shot in the 60s.

Not among that number, however, were 54-hole leader Wade Ormsby and fellow European Tour regular Scott Hend.

Ormsby got off to a slow start and never really recovered, a bogey at the 7th and a birdie at the 8th seeing him out in even par.

Things didn’t improve on the back nine with three bogeys against two birdies and his eventual 73 dropped the South Australian to a share of fifth.

After a frustrating day on the greens Saturday Hend never found his rhythm in the final round with two double bogeys and a bogey against just two birdies for a 73 that saw him slip 20 places down the standings.

Victoria’s Peter Wilson endured a horror double bogey at the last to fall from outright second to T5 alongside Bland and Ormsby, first round leader Daniel Pearce also at 9-under and sharing fifth.

ADAM BLAND DISCUSSES HIS 5-UNDER 67 ON SUNDAY IN FIJI:

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