John Catlin targets major debut in 2021 after Irish Open victory
Catlin is just the third American to win the Irish Open, following Ben Crenshaw and Hubert Green
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 27/09/20 9:16pm
John Catlin has set his sights on making a major debut in 2021 after registering a second European Tour title in three weeks at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
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Catlin followed his breakthrough victory at the Andalucia Masters with a two-shot victory at Galgorm Castle, posting a six-under 64 on the final day in Northern Ireland to pull ahead of closest challenger Aaron Rai.
The American's victory lifts him to 14th in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings and will see him inside the world's top 100 for the first time in his career, with Catlin hoping to continue his recent upturn in form and secure invites to next year's majors.
"I've always wanted to play in the majors, that's the only level of golf I haven't played at," Catlin said. "Hopefully one day I can win one of those as well. To have gotten inside that top 100 is a big leap forward.
"So many years of hard work have gone into this moment. It was my goal to win again at the start of this week, to have accomplished it is something truly, truly special.
Catlin pips Rai to Irish victory
Report and highlights from the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle.
"(Winning at Valderrama) was massive. You never know if you're going to win or not, to get that monkey off my back at Valderrama really freed me up today to know I could do it. Be able to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I've been here before and I can do it again.
"I was talking to someone earlier about where I was at four years ago and to be here is so surreal and a testament to my coach and all the hard work we put in. It's so awesome to just be here."
Rai needed a final-hole birdie to join Catlin on 10 under and take the contest to extra holes, only to post a closing bogey and finish two back after taking two attempts to gouge out of thick rough.
"I'm feeling a little bit disappointed," Rai admitted. "I can't hide that, but I played solid for most of the week and 18 was just one of those things. It's golf, and it happens, but John [Catlin] played incredibly well today and deserves it.
"It's nice this week, it's the first time I've been in contention throughout the whole week and stayed there. There's a lot of positives to take, I felt like I handled myself well on the outside and, more importantly on the inside, a lot more positives than negatives to take out of this week."