Kuching, Malaysia: John Catlin sank a clutch birdie putt on the last hole to win his second Asian Tour title in a thrilling final round at the inaugural US$300,000 Sarawak Championship.
The 27-year-old held his nerve to roll in a five-foot putt on the 18th hole to eke out a one-stroke victory over fellow-American Paul Peterson and Thais Jazz Janewattananond and Danthai Boonma at the Damai Golf and Country Club.
There was very little breathing space for Catlin in the final round but he eventually prevailed after returning a bogey-free six-under-par 66 for a 22-under 266 total in the Asian Tour event.
Fast-charging Jazz birdied 16 and eagled 17 for a superb 64 to set the clubhouse target on 21-under before settling for joint second place with Danthai (66) and overnight leader Peterson, who also birdied the last to finish with a 68.
With Jazz safely in the clubhouse, the Sarawak Championship looked likely to enter extra time before Catlin stepped up to sink the crucial putt under immense pressure.
Jazz failed to win back-to-back titles but the result will give him and Danthai a much-needed confidence boost ahead of their Major debut at The Open in two weeks.
The 30-year-old Peterson was disappointed not to win the Sarawak Championship where he held the lead since the opening round. He piled the pressure on Catlin with a cool birdie finish on the last but eventually settled for second place.
Reflecting on his success, Catlin said: “It was crazy! People kept making birdies and I asked myself: ‘When is my birdie going to be enough!’ I finally did it on the 18th hole and that’s what I needed.
“Danthai, Peterson and I were tied after the 12th hole and suddenly on 17 we saw that Jazz was one ahead of us! Honestly, I wanted someone to go ahead because I figured it would push me and put a little fire under me. That’s probably why I birdied the last hole.
“I saw Peterson birdied 18 as well but it didn’t change the situation. It actually helped me seeing the break because I wouldn’t have played quite as much break if I hadn’t seen Paul’s putt. Seeing his putt go in was definitely helpful.
“It is crazy how life pans out. My coach actually told me to come to Asia. My first two years were really eye-opening and I realised what are the areas of my game that I needed to improve on in order to compete. Having a full year on the ADT was big for me to get my feet wet. I won a few times there and that gave me the confidence.”
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