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Catlin sees off Kaymer to secure his first European Tour title

Catlin sees off Kaymer to secure his first European Tour title

John Catlin claimed his maiden European Tour title with a wire to wire victory at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters after seeing off former World Number One Martin Kaymer in a thrilling final round battle that went down to the very last hole.


The American began the day with a two stroke advantage but saw the lead change hands throughout the afternoon at Real Club Valderrama, with Catlin finally shaking off two time Major Champion Kaymer with a par at the last to win by a single shot.

Catlin was unable to make any birdies in his closing 75 but produced some wonderful par saves to stay in the hunt on the back nine and finished the tournament on two over par at one of Europe's toughest courses.

For the second week in a row, Kaymer narrowly missed out on a play-off after his chip for par from just off the 18th green stopped agonisingly short of the hole.

The German finished alone in second on three over, one clear of Justin Harding, Wil Besseling and Antoine Rozner in a tie for third.

Just as it has done all week, the wind was causing problems again at Valderrama on day four but that did not seem to bother Kaymer in the early stages.

The 35-year-old began the day two strokes behind Catlin but halved the deficit early on with a birdie from 12 feet at the second.

He gave the shot straight back after missing his par putt from the fringe at the short third but returned to the red numbers with a bounce back birdie from eight feet on the par five fourth.

Kaymer just missed his birdie putt on the fifth but when playing partner Catlin dropped his first shot of the day at the same hole moments later, the European Ryder Cup star found himself in a share of the lead on one under.

The German produced one of the best putts of the day on the sixth green, holing from around 25 feet for par after navigating his way out of a tricky spot in the bunker.

And with Catlin unable to roll in his birdie putt from ten feet on the same hole, no damage was done for Kaymer.

Both players made good par saves on the seventh, with Kaymer doing well to find the green with his second shot after clipping branches off the tee and Catlin getting up and down from the rough.

It was Catlin's turn to get into tree trouble with his tee shot at the eighth but he was able to save par from eight feet, and he watched on as Kaymer missed his 25 foot birdie putt.

After losing his ball from the ninth tee and needing to hit a provisional, Kaymer made a double bogey to head to the turn two strokes behind Catlin, who nearly compounded his opponent's error with a birdie but missed his 12 foot effort.

Catlin's lead was reduced to one shot when he bogeyed the tenth before a two shot swing on the 12th saw the American finally fall off the top of the leaderboard as he missed his seven foot par putt and Kaymer made a birdie from a similar distance.

There were more twists and turns to come, though, as Kaymer bogeyed the 13th to join Catlin on one over, and when Catlin missed his four foot par putt at the next, the German led on his own once more.

Catlin nervelessly drained his par putt at the difficult 15th hole while Kaymer was unable to follow him in from nine feet and dropped another shot.

What had been a two horse race for much of the day became a three way battle as Harding birdied the 17th from close range to join Kaymer and Catlin in a tie for the lead on two over.

But Harding finished with a double bogey at the 18th to fall to four over.

Kaymer gave himself a great birdie chance at the long 17th but could not tap in his six foot putt, and with Catlin getting up and down from behind the green for par, they remained tied with one hole remaining.

And when Kaymer failed to save par at the last, Catlin could celebrate his first European Tour crown.

Catlin is used to being in the winner's circle, having won four times on the Asian Tour, and he said that experience stood him in good stead in the closing stages.

He said: "My past experience was very helpful in that regard, I knew I had done it before.

"Even when things were not quite going my way in the early part of that back nine, I knew if I just stayed patient and kept going I would give myself a chance.

"That putt that I made on the 15th was a big momentum shifter, I was able to stay patient throughout the end and lag that one up there nice and close on the 18th and then it started to come together.

"That was one of my goals in 2019 when I earned my card, to win on the European Tour, and I wasn’t able to win in 2019 so it’s very nice to get it done this week and especially on a beautiful golf course, and very demanding one.

"The calibre of play out here is fantastic so to win out here is amazing.

"Just look at the names I was playing against this week. To have beaten them is something I'm very, very proud of."

Lee Westwood shot the lowest round of the week on Sunday morning, making six birdies and two bogeys in his 67 to finish in a tie for tenth on eight over.

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