Jason Norris Fiji International champion

THE Fiji International defending champion Jason Norris has lost access to the putt-putt course that helped propel him to success in 2017.

Greg DavisThe Courier-MailJuly 31, 201811:10am

Jason Norris set to defend his Fiji International win Natadola Bay Championship. Picture SARAH REEDSource:News Corp Australia

BEING defending champion at the Fiji International has its advantages. But 2017 winner Jason Norris has lost access to the secret weapon that helped him capture the title at the windswept Natadola Bay Championship course.

The South Australian spent time at his hotel’s putt-putt course before every round last year finetuning his work around the greens.

Norris — who was ranked 1238th in the world before last year’s Fiji International — has been upgraded to different accommodation in 2018 and his hotel has everything but a putt-putt course.

Jason Norris set to defend his Fiji International win Natadola Bay Championship. Picture SARAH REED

Jason Norris set to defend his Fiji International win Natadola Bay Championship. Picture SARAH REEDSource:News Corp Australia

“There’s a putting green but no putt-putt,” he said.

“I might get out there and keep the ritual going with a bit of putting practice, I think.’’

A back injury has hampered the 45-year-old’s campaign in Europe and Asia this year with Norris making five cuts in 17 starts.

Norris took part in the traditional Sevu Sevu welcoming ceremony next to the 18th green on Tuesday when he had a sip of kava and said being back at the scene of his greatest triumph was the perfect tonic for his game.

“You have good vibes going through your body and good feelings. It’s always good to come back to where you have played well and I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing it again,’’ he said.

Ernie Els is the headliner at the Fiji International. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Ernie Els is the headliner at the Fiji International. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Gallo Images/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“It (the injury) has started to come good the last three weeks to a month … it’s been a bit of a struggle.

“It’s a great thrill to be back … I’ve defended secondary tour events and it’s great fun but this is the next level.

“I’m no Ernie Els (tournament headliner) so this is a bit of fun for me. ’’

Norris shot a 5-under 67 in the final round last year with eight birdies catapulting him up the leaderboard.

The trademark strong winds around Natadola Bay greeted players on Tuesday and Norris is happy for it to keep blowing.

“If you playing well, the wind doesn’t affect you. It’s when you are off, the wind really affects you. The wind didn’t bother me for a couple of rounds (last year),’’ he said.

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Originally published as No hotel putt-putt a concern for champ

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