John Catlin Claims Maiden European Tour Title
John Catlin, the four-time Asian tour champion, once again stunned the golf lovers by his impressive play on Sunday to become the first American since Tiger Woods to win at Valderrama.
The American golfer won for the first time on the European Tour and dismissed Martin Kaymer another chance to end a six-year drought.
Kaymer, who now has gone 156 events since his last victory in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, missed close-range birdie chances on the 16th and 17th holes, and they proved costly.
Whereas, Catlin, who took a two-shot lead into the final round, had got up and down for par from over the back of the 17th green and held his nerve to par the last and secure victory by a single shot.
"That was my goal … To accomplish that is pretty hard to put into words right now,” said Catlin.
On the historical front, the modern-day great Tiger Woods won the World Golf Championship at Valderrama in 1999, beating Miguel Angel Jimenez in a playoff, and now after 21 years, John Catlin becomes the second American professional to win at the Valderrama.
Catlin finished at 2-over 286, the first time a regular European Tour event was won with a score over par since the Spanish Open at Valderrama in 2016.
Justin Harding of South Africa birdied the 17th and suddenly was tied for the lead at 2 over, only to double bogey the 18th. He wound up tied for third with a 71.
Kaymer, whose last win was his second major title at the 2014 US Open, had taken the outright lead with a birdie to Catlin’s bogey on the 12th, but promptly bogeyed the 13th.
Both players were unable to convert birdie chances on the 16th, and Kaymer also missed from six feet on the par-five 17th. The 35-year-old bogeyed the 17th at The Belfry a week ago and missed out on a place in a play-off for the ISPS Handa UK Championship by a single shot.
“Challenging to see the positives at the moment after these last couple of holes today,” Kaymer wrote on Instagram.
“It’s awesome,” said Catlin, who joins Tiger Woods as the only American players to win at Valderrama. “Tiger is the guy that I grew up idolising. I hope one day I can play against him, that’s my dream. To have won on a golf course that he’s won on is very special.
“It’s the biggest win of my career for sure. This is the second-largest Tour in the world but it’s very, very close to the PGA Tour and the caliber of play out here is fantastic. To win out here is amazing.”