John Catlin. Pic: European Tour
Valderrama, Sept 5: John Catlin takes a two stroke lead into the final round of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters after his patient approach paid dividends on another windy day at Real Club Valderrama.
Catlin a multiple winner on Asian Tour with four titles, has yet to taste victory on the European Tour. He will be attempting that on Sunday.
The American produced an outstanding display of front running on Saturday and found himself five clear at one stage after holing his 35 foot birdie putt at the 14th.
And despite finishing with back to back bogeys to sign for a 72, Catlin was the only man under par ahead of Sunday’s final round.
Shubhankar Sharma missed the cut on Friday.
Two time Major Champion Martin Kaymer was Catlin’s nearest competitor on level par after carding three birdies and a solitary bogey in a stunning 69.
Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson and Lorenzo Gagli, who made a hole-in-one from 203 yards on the short 12th, were another shot back in a tie for third.
Kaymer lists Valderrama among his top three courses in the world. Ahead of the tournament, Kaymer said winning here had been a long held ambition. “Winning in Valderrama was always one of my goals, one of my dreams,” he said. “The first time I came here in 2007, I pulled the cart myself in my practice round and that was one of the most enjoyable practice rounds I’ve ever had because it was just you and Valderrama. To win here would be something very special.”
Gagli hailed the “perfect shot” after making an ace in his third round 71 that contained an eagle, two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
He said: “It was a perfect shot, four iron. The wind was into from the left. I hit a perfect shot, a little low with a little draw and it landed just at the front of the green and rolled in. I think it’s my first.”