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John Catlin Edges Out Martin Kaymer at Brutal Valderrama

By: | Mon 07 Sep 2020 | Comments

There were two winners at the Andalucia Masters - American John Catlin and the fearsome Valderrama. Catlin defeated Germany’s Martin Kaymer by a shot as the two-time major champion dropped a stroke at the final hole at the end of four brutal days in which not a single player finished the week under par.

Last month Catlin was disqualified at the English Championship at Hanbury Manor after he and his caddie stopped at a restaurant, in breach of the European Tour’s Covid-19 rules. So this was quite some turnaround. For Kaymer it was a bitter disappointment as he failed to land his first title in six years.

“This is still sinking in,” said Catlin. “The nerves were going nuts the whole round. This is a very difficult course, the greens are firm and fast and the wind was no easier today than it had been for the first three rounds. My goal at the start of 2019 was to win on the European Tour, so to have accomplished that is hard to put into words. But I’m massively excited about now being able to play in all the big events on this tour.”

The American began the day with a two stroke advantage but saw the lead change hands throughout the afternoon at Real Club Valderrama, with Catlin finally seeing off Kaymer with a par at the last to win by a single shot.

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.

For the second week in a row, Kaymer narrowly missed out on a play-off after his chip for par from just off the 18th green stopped agonisingly short of the hole. The German finished alone in second on three over, one clear of Justin Harding, Wil Besseling and Antoine Rozner in a tie for third.

Just as it had done all week, the wind caused problems again at Valderrama but that did not seem to bother Kaymer in the early stages.

The 35-year-old began the day two strokes behind Catlin but halved the deficit early on with a birdie from 12 feet at the second. He gave the shot straight back after missing his par putt from the fringe at the short third but returned to the red numbers with a bounce back birdie from eight feet on the par five fourth.

Kaymer just missed his birdie putt on the fifth but when playing partner Catlin dropped his first shot of the day at the same hole moments later, the European Ryder Cup star found himself in a share of the lead on one under.

The German holed from 25 feet for a par at the sixth. Both men made good par saves on the seventh, with Kaymer doing well to find the green with his second shot after clipping branches off the tee and Catlin getting up and down from the rough.

It was Catlin's turn to get into tree trouble at the eighth but he was able to save par from eight feet. Kaymer lost his ball at the ninth and made a double bogey to head to the turn two strokes behind Catlin.

Catlin's lead was reduced to one when he bogeyed the 10th before a two shot swing on the 12th when the American missed a seven foot par putt and Kaymer made a birdie from a similar distance.

Kaymer bogeyed the 13th to join Catlin on one over, and when Catlin missed his four foot par putt at the next, the German led on his own once more.

Catlin drained his par putt at the difficult 15th hole while Kaymer was unable to follow him in from nine feet and dropped another shot.

What had been a two horse race for much of the day became a three-way battle as Harding birdied the 17th from close range to join Kaymer and Catlin in a tie for the lead on two over.

But Harding finished with a double bogey at the 18th to fall to four over.

Kaymer gave himself a great birdie chance at the long 17th but missed a six-foot putt, and with Catlin getting up and down from behind the green for par, they remained tied with one hole remaining.

And when Kaymer failed to save par at the last, Catlin could celebrate his first European Tour crown.

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