Everything you need to know from last week's tournament at Real Club Valderrama.
John Catlin won his first European Tour title in seriously tough conditions as the entire field finished over par.
Here we take a look at the highlights from a testing week at Real Club Valderrama.
Catlin makes European Tour breakthrough
A four-time Asian Tour winner, American Catlin is no stranger to the winner's circle. And the 29-year-old claimed a first European Tour title with a composed display in southern Spain, seeing off former World Number One Martin Kaymer in a thrilling final round battle that went down to the very last hole. 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. "My past experience was very helpful in that regard, I knew I had done it before,” said Catlin. “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 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.”
Kaymer narrowly misses out again
After a disappointing last two holes cost him a place in the play-off at The Belfry a week ago, Kaymer found himself pipped again after his chip for par at the last stopped agonisingly short. Remarkably, the German has not won since romping to the U.S. Open by eight shots in 2014, but if the two-time Major winner continues in this sort of form the next title is surely just around the corner.
Valderrama bares its teeth
The 1995 Ryder Cup venue has long been established as one of the toughest tracks in the world. A move from it's usual autumn spot on the calendar made life even more difiicult, as strong winds combined with quick conditions saw some very high scoring. Nobody finished the week under par, the cut fell at eight over – the highest this season by five shots and a total which by Sunday was enough for a top-ten finish – and there were only 20 scores under 70 all week. Brutal.
I’ve had a few people ask, was it the set up that made #ValderramaMasters so difficult? I thought it was set up as fair as possible.— Paul Waring (@PaulWaringGolf) September 7, 2020
The main 4 reasons for high scores were:
1. It’s Valderrama
2. Gusty 20mph wind
3. Cork trees
4. It’s Valderrama
Oh Valderrama you beast.— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) September 6, 2020
You are mean and horrible.
You are soul destroying and you mess with my head.
You are beautiful and perfect.
For all the terrors, I still love you!!!
Until next time!
Thank you ☺️ @EuropeanTour
Gagli's amazing ace
Despite the high scoring, there was the occasional beacon of hope. None more so than Lorenzo Gagli's effort at the par three 12th on Saturday. The Italian holed a four iron from 203 yards for a remarkable hole-in-one. "It was a perfect shot, four iron,” he said. “The wind was into from the left. I hit a perfect shot, a little low with a little draw and it landed just at the front of the green and rolled in. I think it’s my first."
Drop and give me 200
Sami Välimäki looked overjoyed and pointed to his caddie Väinö Viitaharju after holing his par putt at the last to sign for a 69 on Friday. That's because he had agreed with Viitaharju that the bagman must do 200 push ups if he managed to post a two under par round or better. Välimäki said: "If I played two under or better he has to make 200 push ups, so that was for him that I made that last putt. I don’t know (how he’ll find it). I can’t do it so hopefully he can." It turns out he can, and we have video evidence, although perhaps it was telling that there was no similar wager ahead of Välimäki repeating the feat on Saturday. Over to you, Väinö...