Catlin targeting top 50 after overcoming Kieffer in play-off to seal Austrian Open title

By Sports Desk April 18, 2021

John Catlin defeated Maximilian Kieffer in a play-off to win the Austrian Open after a thrilling final round on Sunday.

Kieffer looked to be in charge at the Diamond Country Club in Vienna after going to six under for the day by the eighth hole, but he was unable to keep up that momentum and Catlin took advantage.

Catlin had been two shots off the lead at the start of his round and Kieffer's impressive early form had the American four back at one point.

Kieffer's first bogey just before the turn gave Catlin extra encouragement in what had developed into something of a two-horse race, and a remarkable 25-foot putt at the 11th had the lead down to just one shot.

Catlin then found the hole from 30 feet on the 14th to take the lead after Kieffer had bogeyed the 11th, though their positions switched again briefly before they finished their respective rounds level.

After a tense duel in the first few holes of the play-off, Kieffer found water three times on the fifth to gift Catlin the initiative despite him finding a bunker.

He took full advantage and sealed his third European Tour title in eight months, though Catlin expressed some sympathy with Kieffer's struggles at the end.

"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."

Victory for Catlin could be enough to see him break into the top 80 for the first time, though he has no plans to stop there.

"I'd love to crack that top 50 in the world," he added. "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 US PGA Championship, 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.

"Winning is never easy, it doesn't matter what tour you're playing on and to have gotten this one is definitely something special."

Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer shared the lead with Alejandro Canizares ahead of Sunday's final round and ultimately finished third, three shots behind the top two on 11 under for the tournament.

The German's title tilt fell apart on the front nine as he reached the turn at two over par, owing partly to a nightmarish double-bogey on the third hole.

But he still managed to card a two-under 70 as he enjoyed a blemish-free back nine.

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