WICHITA, KS. - Henrik Norlander defeated Bryan Bigley on the third playoff hole Monday morning at Crestview Country Club to take home the Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth. Norlander carded a final-round 4-under 66 before eventually closing out the win with a par on the third playoff hole.
“I’ve felt confident the past few weeks,” Norlander said. “I told myself I’m going to put myself into contention this year and win eventually. So, it’s nice to get that off my back.”
On the first playoff hole Sunday evening, Bigley stuck his approach to 4-feet. Norlander answered, draining his birdie attempt from 18-feet to keep the pressure on. With daylight running out, Bigley converted his short birdie attempt and pushed the playoff to Monday.
Play resumed Monday morning with players teeing off No. 18 at 7:30 a.m. Both players made par on the par-4 18th, and the pair returned to the par-3 17th for the third playoff hole.
After Norlander stuck his approach to 12-feet, Bigley lagged a long birdie attempt 3-feet by the hole, leaving Norlander a chance for the win. The birdie putt slid by the hole, leaving him a tap-in for his par. Bigley was unable to covert his short par attempt, which secured the win for Norlander.
“I thought I made it on No. 17,” Norlander said. “I felt like I had two good chances to win. It’s always unfortunate when someone misses a short putt, but I’ll take the win.”
With the victory, Norlander earned 500 Korn Ferry Tour points and has secured his return to the PGA TOUR. Norlander previously played on TOUR after earning his card through the 2015 Korn Ferry Tour Finals and narrowly missed earning his card last season.
“There’s a lot of relief, obviously it’s been a few rough years,” Norlander said. “I feel like I belong out there and it’s nice to get another crack at it for sure. It’s nice to get some results and validation when the hard work actually pays off.”
Norlander, who missed five consecutive cuts to start the 2019 season, has recorded six top-25s in his last nine events. The 32-year-old credits an attitude adjustment as the key piece that turned his season around.
"I went to the Bahamas and just felt like I should've been on the PGA TOUR, "he said. "This Tour is way too competitive to play bad and have a bad attitude on top of that. I was lucky we got four weeks off where I could regroup. I've been playing very well since then, so I'm excited.
Bigley earned the best finish of his career on the Korn Ferry Tour with a T2. The 34-year-old has had a rough start to his season, making only two cuts in his first 12 starts. With his finish this week, Bigley moved up 119 spots in The 25 to 87th.
Sebastian Cappelen, Kevin Dougherty and Erik Compton each finished in a tie for second with Bigley. Cappelen, who earned his first Korn Ferry Tour title at the 2014 Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth, secured his first PGA TOUR card with his finish at Crestview Country Club this week.
* This week's purse was $625,000, with $112,500 going to the champion, Henrik Norlander. Norlander also received 500 Korn Ferry Tour points.
* Norlander moved to No. 5 in The 25 with 991 Korn Ferry Tour points and has secured his return to the PGA TOUR.
* Norlander led the field in driving accuracy, hitting 44 of 57 fairways, and led the field in putts per green in regulation with 96 putts on 59 greens.
* Entering the week, Bryan Bigley (-15, T2) made just two cuts in 12 starts, with a scoring average of 73.88 through 26 rounds.
* Scottie Scheffler (-13, T7) recorded his eighth top-10 of the season, the most on the Korn Ferry Tour this year.
* Rookie Danny Walker (-14, 6) earned his best finish of the season and first top-10 of his Korn Ferry Tour career.
*Among the three Monday qualifiers that made the cut, Ryan Baca led the group, finishing T14 for the week. With the top-25, he has earned a spot in next week’s Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank. Baca fired the low round of the day on Sunday, posting a 7-under 63.
* It is estimated that players with 830 or more Korn Ferry Tour Points at the end of the Regular Season will likely secure their PGA TOUR card.
* The par-4 sixth hole (495 yards) ranked as the toughest hole throughout the week with a scoring average of 4.226.
* The par-5 14th hole (501 yards) ranked as the easiest hole throughout the week and played to a scoring average of 4.428.