Henan, China: John Catlin claimed his maiden Asian Tour title after carding a final-round three-under-par 69 to win the US$300,000 Asia-Pacific Classic.
The 27-year-old American had a nervy start as he dropped two shots on his opening nine holes at the St Andrews Golf Club. However, he recovered with birdies on 11, 13 and 14 to post a 16-under-par 272 total.
A two-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) who earned his Asian Tour card by finishing third on the ADT merit list, Catlin took home the first prize of US$54,000. In so doing, he has risen from 44th to 20th place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
“Victory feels just so good. Unreal, surreal, lots of different feelings now,” said Catlin.
“My goal was 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 I’ve put in since missing the cut in Manila in 2016. Winning on the ADT is nice, but the main Tour is a step up.
“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.
“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.”
Thai Natipong Srithong (66) and Australian Adam Blyth (70) shared second place, two strokes behind Catlin. Natipong shot six birdies during his flawless round, but it was a case of too little, too late. Blyth rued a bogey at 10 which took away his momentum.
The Asia Pacific Classic was 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.