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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Italian Grand Prix - By James Cor­ri­gan GOLF COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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

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