Catlin Wins Austrian Open in 5-Hole Playoff

John Catlin of Sacramento has become a consistent winner on the European Tour.

The 30-year-old Catlin needed only a bogey on the fifth playoff hole to turn back Maximilian Kieffer of Germany and capture the Austrian Golf Open in chilly conditions at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria—about 30 miles from Vienna.

“Winning is never easy, it doesn’t matter what tour you’re playing on, and to have gotten this one is definitely something special,” said Catlin, who won both the Estrella Damm Andalucia Masters and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in September, and has 10 victories around the world in his career.

“I’d love to crack that top 50 in the world, just get a chance to play in some major championships. I’ve actually never played in a major. I’m thinking this gives me a very good chance to play in the PGA Championship (on May 20-23 at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina). That was kind of my goal.

“Hopefully it’s good enough and to get into those events and to have the chance to win a major, that’s been my goal since I was a kid.”

Catlin posted a score of 68-70-71-65—274, 14-under-par, making seven birdies in his bogey-free final round, the last on the 16th hole to come from four strokes behind in the final round to tie Kieffer, who finished at 72-68-68-66—274.

Kieffer sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole, but Catlin answered with his own birdie from seven feet to stay alive, and on the fourth extra hole Catlin made a brilliant par save from a greenside bunker to keep the playoff going.

On the final hole of the day, Kieffer hit his tee shot and two more from the drop zone into the water en route to a quadruple-bogey 7, and Catlin again hit into a greenside bunker but his bogey was enough to win.

“It’s always tough to watch that happen,” Catlin said. “We’re out here giving it our all, he’s obviously a very, very accomplished player, and to come out on top is something I will always cherish.”

Martin Kaymer of Germany was third at 68-70-69-70—277 while Marcus Armitage of England shot 73-69-70-68—280 to tie for fourth with Will Besseling of the Netherlands, who finished at 72-71-70-67—280, and Garrick Higgo of South Africa, who wound up at 72-71-69-68—280.

Austin Bautista of Australia totaled 74-67-71-69—281 to tie for seventh with third-round leader Alejandro Canizares of Spain, who finished 67-70-70-74—281, Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark, who wound up at 70-72-72-67—281, and Jacques Kruyswijk of South Africa, who came in at 68-72-70-71—281.

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