John Catlin with Eva Ledesma, Por Una Sonrisa's representative (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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The European Tour’s Golf for Good initiative has raised €100,000 for four local charities at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with money pledged for every birdie and eagle made on the iconic 17th hole at Real Club Valderrama.

Launched at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House in July, the #GolfForGood initiative will continue to underpin the 2020 Race to Dubai season. More than €800,000 has now been shared amongst local, national, and international charitable causes in the first seven weeks of the rescheduled season.

For every birdie at the famous 17th there was a pledge of €500 for the charitable fund, and an additional €1,500 for every eagle. In total there were 130 birdies and 16 eagles made with home favourite Nacho Elvira and American Johannes Veerman both carding two eagles and a birdie across the four tournament days.

With a total of €89,000 raised as a result of the birdies and eagles on the 17th, the European Tour, Estrella Damm, the Junta de Andalucía and Real Club Valderrama rounded up the charitable contribution to €100,000.

The four charities receiving a share of the €100,000 are:

  • FEGADI, which funds 36 different entities with a focus on quality of life, participation and achievement through health, culture, youth, sports and education.
  • Academia Andaluza de Gastronomía y Turismo, which promotes the region of Andalucía.
  • Fundación Aljaraque, which promotes and develops programs in the hospitality industry for training and empowerment of vulnerable people.
  • Por Una Sonrisa, which works with children and adolescents suffering from cancer.

Peter Adams, Championship Director of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, said: “Golf for Good is underpinning the entire 2020 Race to Dubai season and we are delighted to have continued the success of the initiative from the UK Swing in continental Europe at Real Club Valderrama.

“The players’ excellent form on the 17th hole helped raise vital funds for these four charities which will go towards supporting many people in the region of Andalucía.”

In addition to the funds raised at Real Club Valderrama, range balls from the Iberian Swing will be donated by Alvaro Quiros to Club de Golf La Cañada, located near Real Club Valderrama, the course he learned to play golf at as a junior.

The ‘Golf for Good’ initiative aims to give back in three key areas:

▪ Supporting the Communities where the European Tour plays.

▪ Rewarding the true heroes, such as the front line workers.

▪ Promoting the many health benefits that golf offers.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Spanish Government. This tournament is also supported by Rolex, Exterior Plus, Santander Private Banking and Shell. Callaway, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, Grupo Raga, Kyocera, Marca, Maui Jim, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

John Catlin, winner of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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John Catlin claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters after overcoming two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer in a thrilling battle for a one-stroke victory at the famous Real Club Valderrama.

The American showed nerves of steel as he fended off the challenge of his playing partner, the former World Number One from Germany, down the stretch and a four over 75 was enough for a two over winning total.

Catlin had started the day two shots clear at the top but bogeys at the fifth, tenth, 12th and 14th meant Kaymer – who birdied at the second, fourth and 12th – pulled level to set up a dramatic finale at the Sotogrande venue.

Kaymer missed a golden opportunity to take the lead at the 17th, missing a six foot birdie putt, and Catlin kept his composure with a delightful lag putt at the final hole to two feet. Kaymer had to hole his chip from the edge of the green to keep his chances alive and he almost did just that, but his bogey meant Catlin’s tap-in par sealed a victory which moved him to 35th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

Player Quotes

John Catlin: “I think it’s still setting in, the nerves were going nuts the whole of the final round. It’s a very difficult golf course, the greens are firm and fast and the wind was no easier than it has been the previous three days.

"I don’t think it’s quite sunk in but that was my goal at the start of 2019, to win on the European Tour so to have actually accomplished that is pretty hard to put into words right now.

"It’s very difficult, the hardest part was hitting the fairways. The wind is cross-breeze on most of them, down right to left or down from left to right, into left to right so if you get any kind of wrong spin going you can end up in the rough and the greens are just getting firmer and firmer.

"So fairways are a must, and I managed to make the fairway on 18 and that might have been the difference.

"I’m massively excited to play the big events. That’s what we play for, we all want to play against the best. That’s why playing with guys like Martin, and I played with Rory, Brooks, playing with those guys just shows you you can do it so having the opportunity to play those events is just fantastic.

"I’d planned on playing everything for the rest of the year, but being able to pick and choose – the one event that has stuck out is having the chance to play Wentworth. That’s such a world-class event, I’ve been watching it on TV for the last 15 years. To have the opportunity to play that tournament, I’m very excited about that. ”

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Spanish Government. This tournament is also supported by Rolex, Exterior Plus, Santander Private Banking and Shell. Callaway, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, Grupo Raga, Kyocera, Marca, Maui Jim, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

John Catlin tops the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters (foto © Real Club Valderrama)

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John Catlin will go in search of his first European Tour win as he takes a two stroke lead into the final round of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.

The American, who has four Asian Tour titles to his name, started the third day at Real Club Valderrama two shots ahead of a chasing pack and had briefly increased his lead to three after a birdie on the eighth hole.

But the notoriously tricky 1997 Ryder Cup venue showed its teeth on the back nine as he came home two over par to sign for a one over 72 and a two under total - meaning he enters the final round as the only player under par.

Catlin is just two strokes ahead of former World Number One and two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer. The German, who has stated that one of his career ambitions is to win at Valderrama, carded a two under par round of 69 to move back to level par.

In a share of third on one over are 2014 Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson and Lorenzo Gagli of Italy, who celebrated his first European Tour hole-in-one with an ace on the 203-yard 12th hole. Sami Välimäki, winner of the Oman Open back in March, is a stroke further back on two over par.

Player Quotes

John Catlin: “I hung in there really well. I was hitting the ball pretty solidly, I was just having trouble getting it really close to the hole like I had the first couple of rounds. I made some really nice three to eight footers for par to keep the momentum going.

"It would have been nice to finish off a little better. I actually thought I hit a pretty decent shot there into 17, missed it by a yard and a half – that’s how this course can be sometimes. You hit a pretty good shot and you’re just a little bit off and it can make you pay. It made me pay there, but having a two shot lead going into the final round on such a difficult golf course – I’m really happy.

"The mental side is very important – you’re going to hit good shots and not end up in good spots and you’re going to need to be able to bounce back, keep your metal focus in the right place. That can be tough, but I’m proud of what I was able to do from that side of things and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

"It’s very difficult to win, it doesn’t matter what tour you’re on. Having that winning experience gives me a lot of confidence so I’m going go out, give it my all and see where everything lands.”

Martin Kaymer: “I made very few mistakes this week, couple of bad tee shots that created a couple of double bogeys in the first two rounds. Besides that I hit a couple of very good iron shots, I made the up and downs when I needed to make then, especially yesterday to keep a decent round going.

"Today I created enough chances. It was very difficult today I think to make putts because they put the pins in some very tricky positions. It was very firm around the greens, almost burnt, so you can’t really be that aggressive. I played smart and avoided the mistakes.

"Winning in Valderrama was always one of my goals, one of my dreams. The first time I came here in 2007, I pulled the card 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.”

Lorenzo Gagli: “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.

"This is the third day in tough conditions on a really tough golf course. Anything can happen, you can make birdie, bogey or double bogey with the same shot. You have to stay patient and I’m happy with my game. I hit the ball nicely over the three days, I think I missed three or four tee shots today but that can happen.

"I didn’t know this was coming. I’m happy with my results this year, everything is going in the right direction. The long game is good, the short game is getting better, the putter is getting better than last year. Everything is going in the right direction so I just have to wait and play every day the same.

"It’s going to be a great day tomorrow but on this golf course you have to play shot by shot, stay patient and I’m happy to be in contention again.”

Jamie Donaldson: “It’s just really tough out there. It’s tough anyway, but when you’ve got this 20-30 mile per hour wind gusting, it’s very difficult. Paying golf here is a bit like playing chess on a golf course. It’s very strategic and you’ve got to plan your way around, put it in the right positions all the time.

"A couple of times I hit really great shots – I hit a great shot on two which I thought was perfect and it was slightly blocked out by a tree and if it goes ten yards further or less you’re fine but you’re suddenly blocked out by a tree from what you thought was a good shot.

"It would be lovely to win. I’ve got a medical exemption next year for the early part of the season so the only way I can change that now, before the season starts, is by winning. I’ve got four chances over the next four weeks to do that so I’ve got to go out there and play really well tomorrow to make that happen.”

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Spanish Government. This tournament is also supported by Rolex, Exterior Plus, Santander Private Banking and Shell. Callaway, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, Grupo Raga, Kyocera, Marca, Maui Jim, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

Two-shot lead for the American John Catlin at Valderrama (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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John Catlin will take a two stroke lead into the weekend at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters after another bruising day at Real Club Valderrama.

The American started the day in a four-way tie for the lead and is the only player to have carded two rounds in the red as the field again contended with strong winds at the notoriously tough 1997 Ryder Cup venue.

The 29-year-old, who has won four times on the Asian Tour, began his round with birdies on the first and third holes, but was one over par for the day after his third bogey of the round came at the tenth hole.

He recovered strongly with gains on the 16th and 17th, and a crucial up-and-down on the 18th to sign for a one under par round of 70 and a three under par total.

Catlin is two strokes ahead of Scotsman Connor Syme, who shared the 18-hole lead, 2014 Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson and five-time European Tour winner Pablo Larrazábal.

Wilco Nienaber moved up to fifth place after a one under par round of 70, which included two birdies and an eagle.

Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, who is attached to Real Club Valderrama, the Italian pair of Lorenzo Gagli and Guido Migliozzi, and Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen, who won the 2008 Volvo Masters at this golf course, share sixth on one over par.

Player Quotes

John Catlin: “I was hanging on in the middle of the round. I got off to a hot start again but then I started making bogeys, which you can do out here pretty easily if you miss a fairway here and a green there. I made a really good bogey on nine, that could have been a double pretty quickly. I hung in there all day and was able to hole putts there on 16, 17 and 18. I hit a great shot on 18, I just misjudged the wind a little bit. It’s nice to get two good ones in over the first two days.

“Winning is never easy. It doesn’t matter what Tour you’re on, you have to go out there, make birdies and hole putts. Being able to look myself in the mirror and know I’ve done this before and can do it again is hugely helpful. It helped me out there today, even though I haven’t won a European Tour event, I know I’m fully capable of doing that.”

Connor Syme: “Pretty pleased to be honest, it wasn’t easy again – the wind was probably a little less than yesterday but still equally as difficult. I probably wasn’t as sharp around the greens, got a couple of bad breaks but that’s just going to happen to you to be honest. Happy with the way I grinded, and I holed a few nice putts there at the end to salvage a pretty good score again today.

“(I’m) trying to focus for as little time as possible, switch off in between shots so that when you’re over the ball you’re putting everything into working it out. Because it’s such a grind, it’s pretty hilly and it’s a tough walk as well as being a difficult golf course so trying to keep as much energy as possible for when you’re playing your shots is key, so it’s tough but I’m happy with the score.”

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Spanish Government. This tournament is also supported by Rolex, Exterior Plus, Santander Private Banking and Shell. Callaway, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, Grupo Raga, Kyocera, Marca, Maui Jim, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

Pablo Larrazábal: “I didn't play my best golf today. I've played very poorly in the UK Swing, and I didn't play any good today, but I hung in there, making pars. I hit a couple of great shots - the third on 11 and the second shot on 13. 

“Grinding, great save on 15. Trying to get the positives.  I hit three putts on 17 - a perfect five iron to the middle right of the green on 17 and then three putted. And bogey on 18 is going to be pretty close to average. I'm happy with the fight, with the mental work I've been doing the last couple of days, and I’m happy for the result.”

Jamie Donaldson: “I’m very pleased. It’s a battle out there on the best of days, even when there’s no wind blowing here it’s still difficult. It was blowing 30 yesterday and probably 20 today, looking like the same this afternoon. It’s very difficult, you’ve got to be very patient out there. I’m happy with the position I’m in.

“The short game gets a test here because you’re not going to hit many greens when it’s so blowy. A good up and down on 15 and 17 I made a great shot in; it just went further than we thought. It was a good up and down from there.”

A view of Real Club Valderrama 17th hole, scene for the Golf for Good initiative (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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The European Tour's Golf for Good initiative continues this week in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters after a hugely successful UK Swing. As it was announced, all European Tour events in 2020 will be part of the #GolfForGood project. This aims to give back in three key areas:

▪ Supporting the Communities where the European Tour plays.

▪ Rewarding the true heroes, such as the front line workers.

▪ Promoting the many health benefits that golf offers.

At Valderrama, Golf for Good will have an amazing scene. For every birdie and eagle on the 17th hole this week, the European Tour will be donating €500 and €1,500 respectively to Real Club Valderrama, with the money being distributed between four local charities. On Thursday a total of 49 birdies and eight eagles were made. That's a whopping €36,500 raised already.

The four charities are:

- FEGADI (La Federación Gaditana de Personas con Discapacidad Física). It was founded in 1986 and funds 36 different entities, with a strategic focus on quality of life, participation and achievement through health, culture, youth, sports and education.

- Academia Andaluza de Gastronomía y Turismo. A non-profit entity, its aim is to promote Andalucía, their culture, gastronomy and local products through different events and activities.

- Fundación Aljaraque. A non-profit entity. Involved in the promotion and development of programs for training and empowerment of vulnerable people at risk or in a situation of social exclusion with a training focus on the hospitality industry.

- Por Una Sonrisa. To bring joy and hope to children and adolescents suffering from cancer.

Furthermore, through Golf for Good the Tour will be supporting various local golf clubs/local businesses near each host venue by providing a significant number of tour-grade range golf balls, as used by the professionals, donated in partnership with Callaway, the Official Golf Ball of the European Tour. Range balls from the Iberian Swing will be donated by Alvaro Quirós to Club de Golf La Cañada, located near Real Club Valderrama, where the Spaniard learned to play golf there as a junior.

 

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Spanish Government. This tournament is also supported by Rolex, Exterior Plus, Santander Private Banking and Shell. Callaway, Coca-Cola, Enterprise, Grupo Raga, Kyocera, Marca, Maui Jim, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

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