Golf | John Catlin wins Irish Open


American golfer John Catlin has won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open by two shots at Galgorm.

Catlin entered the clubhouse at 10-under-par after a stunning final round of 64 saw him overtake overnight leader Aaron Rai in Ballymena.

The 29-year-old, who won his first European title at the Andalucia Masters earlier this month, will now move into the top 100 in the world for the first time in his career.

Catlin becomes the first American to win the Irish Open since Hubert Green in 1977, and only the third American to ever triumph at the tournament.

Rai finished second on -8, one stroke ahead of Maverick Antcliff and Jazz Janewattananond.

Jonathan Caldwell, 36, was Ireland’s highest finisher, ending the tournament on eight-over par. 

“It’s pretty hard to describe,” Catlin said.

“So many years of hard work have gone into this moment. It was my goal to win again at the start of this week, to have accomplished it is something truly, truly special.

“I had nothing to lose. I was going after every flag, I had good numbers and the greens were soft. So I started taking aim and hit a couple in their close. I made a long one on 15 and that three wood on 18 was so satisfying. It was 268 yards to the hole, cold and damp. To just hit a big high draw in there like I know I can, under those conditions, really is hard to put into words.

“(Winning at Valderrama) was massive. You never know if you’re going to win or not, to get that monkey off my back at Valderrama really freed me up today to know I could do it. Be able to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve been here before and I can do it again.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the Majors, that’s the only level of golf I haven’t played at.”

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David Smith

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