Apr 19th, 2021
Catlin claims third European Tour title in Austria
American triumphs in a dramatic five-hole play-off
Photography: Getty Images
Catlin began the day two shots back from the lead and played in the penultimate group behind Kieffer and third round leaders Martin Kaymer and Alejandro Cañizares.
The 30-year-old was at one point in the day four strokes behind Kieffer, who got off to a roaring start. A typically determined display from the Californian, however, yielded seven birdies for an impressive closing 65 and forced extra holes with Kieffer, who signed for a 66. The pair had finished on fourteen-under-par for the event at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg.
In a roller coaster play-off, Kieffer looked to have earned a shock victory when he sank a monster putt for birdie on the third extra hole, but Catlin was equal to the task and knocked in a tester for his two.
"It’s always nice to win. It’s tough to watch that happen – we're out here giving it our all, he’s a very, very accomplished player. To have come out on top is something I’ll always cherish," said Catlin who had looked in big trouble at the fourth extra hole.
"There was about a three-foot wide gap and I landed it right in the middle of it. As soon as it landed I knew that had a chance to be pretty good – you never know how it’s going to bounce through that rough. For it to come out like that and to make that par is probably one in maybe a thousand, it’s nice to get it done,"
It was a disappointing end for Kieffer, who found the water three times at the fifth attempt down the par three 18th at Diamond Country Club, handing victory to a delighted Catlin - who moved to 24th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
“I’m disappointed, that pretty much sums it up. I think my caddie and I were just trying to stay loose. It was good playing with Martin because I know him pretty well, so the atmosphere in our group was nice and funny so that kept the nerves away and helped me stay present," said Kieffer after the disappointing end to the playoff.
Martin Kaymer, who gave himself a mountain to climb with two sixes in his opening three holes, birdied four of the last six holes to post a 70 and finish alone in third on eleven-under-par.
Wil Besseling of Holland finished in joint fourth following his round of 67 alongside England's Marcus Armitage and South African Garrick Higgo who both had final-round 68s.