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John Catlin draws inspiration from Kurt Kitayama as he makes excellent start in Kenya

John Catlin draws inspiration from Kurt Kitayama as he makes excellent start in Kenya

John Catlin revealed he took inspiration from seeing Kurt Kitayama claim his breakthrough PGA TOUR win last week as he held a share of the lead after the first round of the Magical Kenya Open Presented by Absa.

The 32-year-old American mixed an eagle with five birdies in a bogey-free 64 at Muthaiga Golf Club to set the early clubhouse target on Thursday at seven under, a mark that was not surpassed by the afternoon wave.

Catlin started from the tenth in the morning and made four birdies in his opening seven holes, before he made an eagle at the 18th and then picked up a further shot at the sixth on his back nine.

He later pointed to Kitayama's triumph in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill as being a source of motivation as he goes in search of a fourth DP World Tour title this week.

“I’ve known Kurt (Kitayama) since I was at college,” he said.

“We played up in Canada together, in Asia together, in Europe together. I was there when he won his first European Tour event. It’s definitely a big motivator for me.

“He’s a great golfer, and he’s just a great human. It’s good to see someone like that break through on the big stage.”

The American duo have both played on several overseas tours together at the same time and Kitayama highlighted beating Catlin to his first professional victory in 2018, when the pair were both on the Asian Development Tour.

“It was funny that I got mentioned out of the blue, I didn’t know it had happened and a friend told me to look at it because Kurt said something nice, it was nice of him to even mention it just as he won the Arnold Palmer, so that was awesome,” Catlin added.

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