Kaymer falters on last to continue barren run but Catlin earns redemption
Bogey ends German’s hopes of victory at Andalucia Masters American bounces back after breaking biobubble last month
Another Sunday, another heartbreaker for Martin Kaymer. With respect to John Catlin, the 29-yearold who, with a wire-to-wire success, became only the second American to win at Valderrama after Tiger Woods, the majority of the post-tournament talk centred on the popular German who has been so honest in his struggles to achieve his first victory in six years.
The wait to end the barren run will now continue for Kaymer after the closing stretch did for him again. The previous week, the former world No 1 had bogeyed the 17th at The Belfry and missed out on a play-off by one shot.
This time, Kaymer was tied for the lead at the Andalucia Masters, despite missing short birdie putts on the 16th and 17th. Yet on the 18th at the famous Costa del Sol course, the German found the greenside bunker and failed to rescue par, handing Catlin his first European Tour title.
Kaymer was left to take consolation from another week in contention. Ranked 123rd in the world, with no silverware since the 2014 US Open, the two-time major winner is clearly on his way back. He will take off next week before trying to win his second US Open title at Winged Foot.
For Catlin, who carded a 75 for a two-over total, there was a measure of redemption after making negative headlines across the world last month.
Catlin and his caddie were disqualified before the start of the English Championship after visiting a restaurant outside the tournament bubble at Hanbury Manor.
“There’s no real excuse for what happened, I should have known better and I used it as a kind of wake-up call,” Caitlin explained as his clutched the trophy.
“I’d finished a practice round at about 8.45pm and we were staying at a hotel by Stansted Airport, which was about 45 minutes’ drive away. I didn’t want to drive all the way back and not have them serve food and so I made a very poor judgment call and stopped into a pub and I believe the restaurant is the one that sent in the footage.”
Catlin, who took a two-shot lead into the final round, showed his nerve by getting up and down for par from over the back of the 17th green before keeping his composure to par the last.
“It’s awesome emulating Tiger,” Catlin said. “He 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.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in that I’ve finally actually won, but that was my goal at the start of 2019 – to win on the European Tour.
“I wasn’t able to do it last year, so it’s very, very nice to be able to get it done this week, especially on a beautiful course and one that’s very, very demanding. The nerves were going nuts the whole round.
“It’s the biggest win of my career for sure. This is the second largest Tour in the world, but its very, very close to the PGA Tour and the calibre of play out here is fantastic. To win out here is amazing.”
Catlin jumps from world No230 into the top 150. It was a fine day for Americans in Europe, as Tyler Koivisto won the Challenge Tour’s Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle. It is one of the game’s remarkable stories, as this was the first world ranking event of the 27-year-old’s career.
Koivisto spent three years as a schoolteacher after university, before taking up golf full-time two years ago.
All smiles: John Catlin (left) capitalised on Martin Kaymer’s sloppy finish