John Catlin defeated Maximilian Kieffer at the fifth playoff hole to claim his third European Tour title at the Austrian Golf Open.
John Catlin Claims Marathon Austrian Golf Open
Catlin, who started the day two shots back from overnight leaders Martin Kaymer and Alejandro Canizares, produced a blemish free final round of 65.
The American, who had managed two European Tour victories in only 12 starts, found himself chasing Maximilian Kieffer for the majority of the round.
This was after the German had made a staggering start to his final day, with four birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes giving him a four-shot lead.
Overnight leaders Kaymer and Canizares struggled to get their final rounds going, with both bogeying the par-5 first hole.
With the overnight leaders struggling, Catlin was beginning to break out from the pack and form a challenge to Kieffer, who had a two shot advantage heading into the back nine.
Catlin, who had made four birdies on his front nine, carried on his great momentum, making further birdies at the 11th, 14th and 16th to get into a tie with Kieffer.
With birdies at the 14th and 16th, Kieffer would par the last two remaining holes to take the tournament into a playoff with the American.
The playoff hole would be the par-3 18th and, with the pair making par at the first two attempts, they would head back for a third time.
It would be advantage Kieffer, with the German holing a long sloping putt for a birdie to pile the pressure on Catlin, who had a 12-foot putt for his birdie.
The American wouldn’t crack, though, rolling it firmly into the centre of the hole to force a fourth playoff hole.
With the players consistently finding the green the first three attempts, it would be Catlin who would make the first mistake. His tee shot barely cleared the water, hitting a sleeper and bouncing into the greenside bunker.
But the American would produce the shot of the playoff, landing his ball in a three-foot gap and putting it to only a couple of feet.
Holing his putt for par, the pair would head to the 18th tee for the fifth and final time. With Catlin landing his ball in the bunker again, Kieffer would find the water short of the green.
The German would then put his next two shots in the drink, and with no pressure, Catlin would secure his third European Tour title in only 13 starts.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Catlin said: “It’s tough to watch that happen. We’re out there giving it our all, he’s a very accomplished player and, to come out on top, is something I’ll always cherish.
“I want to thank my coach, Noel Montgomery. It’s been a really long road. You know 2015 & 16 were really tough years for me and he stuck by me and kept putting in the hours.
“Winning is never easy and I just want to keep winning. I want to crack that top-50 in the world and play in some Major championships. I’ve never even played in a Major before so, to get into those events and have a chance to win one, that’s been my goal since I was a kid.”