Catlin holds on for victory at the Asia-Pacific Classic

Sun 20 May 2018

Catlin holds on for victory at the Asia-Pacific Classic

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Henan, China, May 20: 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) winner 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.



Natipong Srithong of Thailand

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.  

Did you know:

  • John Catlin entered the Asia-Pacific Classic ranked 278th on the Official World Golf Ranking list. His best position ever is 277th and he looks set to go even higher after earning 10 World Ranking points from this win in China.
  • Catlin becomes the eighth player following Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, American Berry Henson, Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei, Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Poom Saksansin, as well as Malaysian duo Gavin Green and Nicholas Fung, to win on the Asian Tour after enjoying successes on the ADT, which was inaugurated as the gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.
  • He hit 36 out of 56 fairways, 54 out of 72 greens in regulation and took 28.25 putts per round this week.
  • Catlin has been on a sharp incline since missing the cut in Manila in 2016. He finished third on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit last year and enjoyed three top-10 finishes on the ADT in 2018 before his breakthrough victory in China.
  • Adam Blyth has always played well in China. He was tied-fifth at the 2005 Volkswagen Masters-China, tied-fourth at the 2006 Crowne Plaza Open and second at the 2006 Pine Valley Beijing Open in 2006.
  • He was an accomplished amateur golfer, winning 32 titles before turning professional in 2004.
  • Blyth played in four events on the Asian Tour before the Asia-Pacific Classic, making the cut only once at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.
  • Natipong Srithong was his maiden Asian Tour title in Manila in 2015. He got into the tournament on a sponsor's invite and ended up topping the field.
  • He finished 44th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, and his best finish was tied-sixth at the Shinhan Donghae Open.
  • Shohei Hasegawa's breakthrough win on the ADT was achieved in Indonesia this year. There, he beat American Sydney Chung by one shot.
  • He earned his Asian Tour card for 2018 by finishing tied-11th at the Qualifying School early this year. 
  • Huang Wenyi is the highest-placed Chinese golfer at the Asia-Pacific Classic. He ended his tournament in tied-eighth. Compatriot Xiao Bowen had to contend with a tied-12th finish

Players' Quotes

John Catlin (Usa) – Final round 69 (-3), total 272 (-16)

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 lie 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 can 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!

Adam Blyth (Aus) – Final round 70 (-2), total 274 (-14)

John (Catlin) thoroughly deserved it today. He had a good run there, especially with the birdies on 13th and 14th. He got a good momentum, nudged ahead and I wasn't able to make the putts. I made an error on 10th. John played well.

Obviously, it was a great week coming in second place. The earnings will bump me up the Habitat for Humanity Standings. But, when you had that opportunity to win, you want to finish it. Although, he did have the lead coming into today and it just stayed that way. I'll just have to keep working harder.

I took the lead early on, but it was still a long way to go. My goal this week was to get to 16-under-par and if that happened, it would have been a play-off. But, I'm taking the positives and moving on.

I'm heading to the Thailand Open, which is great. I'm looking forward to that. Playing like this gives you confidence, especially when you see your game coming together after all the hard work that I've put in. Second place is OK, although it's hard to take right now and that I didn't put the pressure on. But, it's all good!

Natipong Srithong (Tha) - Final round 66 (-6), total 274 (-14)

I feel very happy to have a low score for the final round. I played well today as I stuck to my game plan, which is to stay on the fairway and make birdies. I made six of them, so I'm very happy!

I've played my wedges well and made some long putts. Hole one stood out, as I birdied from about 25 feet away. My feel for my putter has been great today. 

I only took notice of the leaderboard at the last hole. I was aiming to make a birdie and get to 15-under-par, but I missed it, unfortunately. 

I haven't been playing well this year, so to finish well here in China certainly gave me back my confidence.

Shohei Hasegawa (Jpn) – Final round 69 (-3), total 275 (-13)

I'm thrilled with the way I've finished this tournament! Today, I played well. I had no bogey and three birdies. It wasn't a win, but it's OK. Over the front nine, I could have scored a lot more birdies and pile the pressure on John (Catlin) and Adam (Blyth), but it wasn't the case. John played good and easy golf. So, congratulations to him! For me, maybe, I'll grab the chances next time!

I like the Asian Tour and the ADT, because of the players and the courses. It's very nice and I look forward to competing on both Tours in the future.
The 13th was memorable for me. I hit a great approach to the green and I only had to tap in for birdie. 

Andrew Martin (Aus) - Final round 69 (-3), total 277 (-11)

I struggled with the driver off the tee during the last three rounds. Being on the fairway would have made the approach easier but overall, I still hit some good shots. I just gave myself chances really. The tournament was pretty good overall.

The rounds have been quite stress-free, actually. But you still want to chase the leaders as well. But then again, that's golf. I didn't know what was going on on the leaderboard. I know I'm giving myself plenty of chances, but the leaders were probably doing the same. 

I'm happy with my tournament and I've always enjoyed coming to China. I'm looking ahead to Thailand.

Miguel Carballo (Arg)  - Final round 68 (-4), total 277 (-11)

I played very well this week, had plenty of opportunities for birdies. 11-under-par is a good result for me. My putting hasn't been great though, which was a waste because my drives and approach play has been good this week.

This is my first tournament on the Asian Tour that I made the cut, and to be in the top-10 to boot. So, I'm very happy about this week. I'm getting a lot of confidence from the Asia-Pacific Classic. I've played very well on the ADT as well, so I'm very happy about my game.

 I birdied the 10th because of three good shots to the green, and a good putt. That hole stood out for me.   

Scores after round 4 of the Asia-Pacific Classic being played at the par 72, 7261 Yards St. Andrews (Zhengzhou) Golf Club course (am - denotes amateur):
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.

Ends.

About Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.