Catlin captures second title with Irish Open win

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Catlin captures second title with Irish Open win

John Catlin. By Getty Images

John Catlin overturned a four-stroke deficit at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, firing a sublime final round 64 to win his second European Tour title of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The American, who held off the challenge of former World Number One Martin Kaymer to win the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters earlier this month, started the day four strokes behind 54-hole leader Aaron Rai but quickly moved up the leaderboard as he made the turn in three-under par.

A bogey on the 13th, his only dropped shot in 27 holes, was cancelled out by a long birdie putt on the 15th which drew him level with Rai on eight under. He pulled clear after another gain on the 16th hole and then signed for a ten-under par total after a stunning three wood from 268 yards left him with an easy two putt for his seventh birdie of the day at the last.

Rai birdied the 17th to move to nine under, needing a birdie to force a play-off, but an errant second shot found trouble on the left hand side of the green and a dropped shot handed Catlin his second victory in four weeks – elevating him to 14th in the Race to Dubai presented by Rolex in the process.

“It’s pretty hard to describe,” said Catlin. “So many years of hard work have gone into this moment. It was my goal to win again at the start of this week, to have accomplished it is something truly, truly special.

“I had nothing to lose. I was going after every flag, I had good numbers and the greens were soft. So I started taking aim and hit a couple in their close. I made a long one on 15 and that three wood on 18 was so satisfying. It was 268 yards to the hole, cold and damp. To just hit a big high draw in there like I know I can, under those conditions, really is hard to put into words.

“(Winning at Valderrama) was massive. You never know if you’re going to win or not, to get that monkey off my back at Valderrama really freed me up today to know I could do it. Be able to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve been here before and I can do it again.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the Majors, that’s the only level of golf I haven’t played at. Hopefully one day I can win one of those as well. To have gotten inside that top 100 is a big leap forward.”

Australian Maverick Antcliff and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond shared third place on seven under par, while the Swedish duo of Joakim Lagergren and Oscar Lengden finished tied for fifth.

From an Irish perspective, a good week for some of the home contingent had a rather anti-climactic end after Jonathan Caldwell top scored with an eight-over par total.

The 36-year old carded a closing four-over par round of 74 to share 54th on Sunday, two shots better off than Kilkenny amateur Mark Power who banked four rounds in pro company, including a 72 to finish, to tie for 60th at 10-over par.

Damien McGrane was at 11-over after also closing with a 72. Amateur James Sugrue endured a day to forget with a birdie-less final round of 80 for a 12-over tally while Colm Moriarty’s 79 relegated him to a share of 69th at 16-over par.

Full scoring HERE

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