Once a Golf Prodigy, Now on the Skids

Once a Golf Prodigy, Now on the Skids

Outside the scorer’s trailer at PGA West on Monday, Henrik Norlander stood grinning with a piece of paper in his hand while a friend snapped a photograph with his smartphone camera. Norlander was holding the golf equivalent of a diploma, with an opening sentence that read, “Welcome to the PGA Tour.”

As Norlander was accepting congratulations for earning his 2013 tour card during the last stage of qualifying, a six-round Rorschach test, one of his final-day playing partners, Camilo Villegas, walked hurriedly by. Villegas, a three-time PGA Tour winner once stamped for superstardom, was in a rush, he said, to catch a flight after failing to regain his playing privileges.

The beauty and the beastliness of golf was there to behold in the rounds of Norlander and Villegas, who were tied for 46th when they teed off at 8:30 in the morning on the 10th hole of the Stadium Course. Five hours later, Norlander, 25, made a seven-foot par putt on the final hole for a five-under-par 67 that propelled him into a tie for 22nd.

Villegas missed three short putts on the final three holes, for par at No. 7 and birdies at Nos. 8 and 9, on his way to a 69 that left him tied for 32nd. The top 25 and ties secured their tour playing privileges.

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