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Catlin holds on for victory at Asia-Pacific Classic

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American John Catlin won his maiden Asian Tour title after carding a final-round three-under-par 69 to win the US$300,000 Asia-Pacific Classic on Sunday.

The 27-year-old had a nervy start as he dropped two shots on his opening nine holes. However, he recovered when it mattered most, scoring birdies on holes 11, 13 and 14 before holding on for his maiden Asian Tour victory on a 16-under-par 272 total at the St Andrews Golf Club in Henan, China.

 

Catlin, a two-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) who has earned his Asian Tour card by finishing third on the ADT merit list, took home a winner's purse of US$54,000. He has risen from 44th to 20th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

Catlin shared, "Firstly, I'll have to thank my coach, Noah. He has done amazing work for me over the past four years. It has been a long time coming. He stayed very patient with me, through ups and down. Being here is a huge testament. Victory feels just so good. Unreal, surreal, lots of different feelings now.

"Going into the final two holes, I told myself to keep going. Adam could have made a birdie and I could have made a bogey. So, I told myself to secure that last par and I was able to lay one here (on the 18th green) close to about six inches, which made it a lot easier. As they say, it's never over until the final putt.

"At the fifth and seventh, nerves got the better of me. But I found ways to calm myself. I know I've worked hard and I knew that I could execute any shot. I had a sense of calm. It was nice to birdie ninth and at the 10th, I made par which was big. I made birdies on 12th and 13th, which made up for the mistakes earlier one.

"My goal is to win on the Asian Tour and to accomplish that this week is huge. I have to start booking my flights! Knowing that I'm eligible for the events takes a lot of pressure off.

"This victory validates all the hard work that I've put in since missing the cut in Manila in 2016. Winning on the ADT (Asian Development Tour) is nice, but the main Tour is a step up and as we all know, this is the main Tour on the continent. So, to be able to get into the winners' category on the Asian Tour is huge.

"Knowing that I can compete and win at this level gives me a lot of confidence going forward. In fact, my next aim is to get into the "Multiple Winners" category. I'm glad that I was able to transit very well onto the Asian Tour. Playing a full schedule on the ADT certainly helped, and being based in Asia as well. I moved permanently in November 2016 and my game has got better and better ever since.

"The Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings is also an aim for me. Shubhankar (Sharma) has a pretty huge lead, but we're getting into some big money events so, anything can happen. Right now, I'm just happy to have won, and I'm looking to win again!"

Thailand's Natipong Srithong (66) and Australia's Adam Blyth (70) share second place, two shots behind Catlin. Natipong shot six birdies during his flawless round, but it was a case of too little, too late. Blyth rued his bogey at the 10th, which took away his momentum in his chase for the title.

Shohei Hasegawa of Japan finished in lone fourth after carding a 69. Andrew Martin of Australia and Miguel Carballo of Argentina share fifth place, while Canada's Justin Shin was a further shot behind in lone seventh place.

Huang Wenyi flew the flag for China, as he ended his tournament with a 71 for a 279 total. He finished in tied-eighth along with Australia's Josh Younger.

The Asia Pacific Classic is the Asian Tour’s second stop in China this season. The tournament is part of the Asian Tour’s strategic partnership with the China Golf Association where the goal is to grow and develop professional golf in the region.

Scores after round 4:

272 - John CATLIN (USA) 68-66-69-69.

274 - Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 67-67-74-66, Adam BLYTH (AUS) 70-66-68-70.

275 - Shohei HASEGAWA (JPN) 68-69-69-69.

277 - Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) 68-71-70-68, Andrew MARTIN (AUS) 66-72-70-69.

278 - Justin SHIN (CAN) 70-70-70-68.

279 - Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 67-70-71-71, HUANG Wenyi (CHN) 71-69-68-71.

280 - Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 71-71-72-66, Jack HARRISON (ENG) 67-69-72-72.

281 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 68-69-71-73, Jack WILSON (AUS) 67-71-69-74, XIAO Bowen (CHN) 70-68-69-74, Callum TARREN (ENG) 67-72-68-74.

282 - Bryden MACPHERSON (AUS) 71-73-67-71, Pasavee LERTVILAI (THA) 71-71-69-71, Kevin LEE (KOR) 69-73-69-71, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 67-74-69-72, KOH Deng Shan (SIN) 67-69-73-73.

283 - Alex BELT (ENG) 74-69-70-70, Taewoo KIM #1087 (KOR) 70-69-76-68, Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA) 71-68-70-74, Steven JEFFRESS (AUS) 71-67-70-75.

284 - ZHANG Huilin (CHN) 70-73-70-71, HAK Shun-Yat (HKG) 71-68-73-72, Niall TURNER (IRL) 71-70-71-72, Sunil JUNG (CAN) 73-66-72-73, Pawin INGKHAPRADIT (THA) 71-68-72-73, Charlie SAXON (USA) 69-66-74-75.

285 - LU Wei-chih (TPE) 72-68-74-71, Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 72-71-71-71, LIU Yanwei (CHN) 67-75-71-72, Honey BAISOYA (IND) 67-73-72-73, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 72-72-71-70, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71-70-71-73, Matt STIEGER (AUS) 71-71-74-69.