Success stories from Qualifying School: John Catlin’s pursuit of the Asian dream

Thu 08 Nov 2018

Success stories from Qualifying School: John Catlin’s pursuit of the Asian dream


Sentosa, Singapore, November 8: We have all heard of the American dream. But when John Catlin left his hometown of Sacramento, California to try out for Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2015, he was chasing the Asian Tour dream.

His story is one of true determination and grit, a testimony that there is no fast track or secret formula to reaching the highest echelons of golf.

Leaving the comforts of home to pursue more playing opportunities, the 27-year-old American took the leap of faith to come to Asia in 2015, in hopes of following the footsteps of the Asian Tour luminaries.

“The first year was a big learning experience. Being separated from my country, family and friends and playing a different style of golf took me a long time to get used to! I kept telling myself to keep learning as much as I could because I knew this was all valuable experience,” said Catlin.

In a span of three years, Catlin has attempted to qualify for the Asian Tour Qualifying School on all three occasions.

“I decided the come and play the Asian Tour because of the advice of my coach. Noah (Montgomery) told me that I should come play because he had looked into it on my behalf. I was hesitant at first but once I saw the opportunities to work your way up and the great events that Asian Tour players have access to I knew it was a very good option,” said Catlin.

He made the mark for two consecutive years before failing to earn his Tour card for the first time in 2017. That setback forced him to switch his focus to the Asian Development Tour (ADT) instead.

Fueled by the motivation to come back from his failure, Catlin maximized the playing opportunities on the ADT to regain his status on the main Tour.

“My biggest motivation throughout 2017 was to regain my status on the Asian Tour. I knew that if I earned my status over a year playing in the same continent I would have a lot of confidence on the main Tour. Having the full year on the ADT was big for me to get my feet wet,” said Catlin.

How athletes grind it out through tough times separates those who achieve their goals and those who don’t. Catlin understood that. From sharing bunk beds with his peers in obscure locations to living from paycheck to paycheck, the American found his feet again on the ADT.

Since his last trip to Qualifying School in 2017, Catlin now has three Asian Tour victories under his belt. He sits in seventh-place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings and is ranked 112th in the world. Most recently, Catlin also qualified for the PGA TOUR-sanctioned CIMB Classic and the WGC-HSBC Champions.

“My success since I won my first ADT event has given me a lot of confidence going into 2018. Getting three wins in a 12-month period in Asia showed me that I was capable of performing among the best on the main Tour,” said Catlin.

Hoping his story will be an inspiration to future talents, Catlin firmly believes that the only road to success comes through determination and hard work.

“I would say to anyone who is coming over to Asian Tour Qualifying School that with commitment and hard work you can achieve great things and play against the greatest players in the world,” added Catlin.