Golf

Golfer John Catalan earns podium finish in world amateur meet

Rappler.com

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Golfer John Catalan earns podium finish in world amateur meet

PROUD. John Catalan with his runner-up trophy in the World Amateur Golfers Championship.

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A former junior golf champion, John Catalan claims a runner-up finish, winding up just a stroke behind Finland’s Klmmo Hyvarinen in the World Amateur Golfers Invitational

MANILA, Philippines – John Catalan came close to winning it all.

Catalan shot a five-over par 77 in the final round to finish second overall in Division 1 of the recent World Amateur Golfers Invitational (WAGI) category of the World Amateur Golfers Championship (WAGC) in Phuket, Thailand.

Catalan, a former champion in the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines, had a four-day combined score of 293, finishing a stroke behind Finland’s Klmmo Hyvarinen, who finished with 292. Mariusz Czerkawski of Poland placed third overall at 296.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that you represented the country well. It was bittersweet, however, because I came up short of winning the championship,” said the 28-year-old Catalan, a registered nurse in the United States.

Catalan matched the 2017 first runner-up finish of Tonito Payumo in Division 1. However, he came short of becoming the second Filipino to rule the WAGC, which Payumo did in 2018.

“It was a tough tournament because all participants played in four tough golf courses,” said Catalan. “We actually played six straight days, which included two days of practice rounds. Still, it feels good that the efforts were rewarded by making it to the podium.” 

Catalan, the  son of former Acting Prosecutor General of the Philippines and former Chief Prosecutor of Makati City Jorge Galvez Catalan Jr., had an opening round of three-over par 75. 

He then came through with a 71 and a 70 in the next two days to move to the top of the leaderboard for a four-shot lead on James Oliver Yeomans of United Arab Emirates.

However, a pair of double bogeys on 14 and 15 had him seven-over in his final round score. 

Catalan finished strong, though, as he birdied on 16 and 17 before he saved par on 18 to close with a 77. Participants played in four golf courses in Phuket, including Laguna Golf, Red Mountain Golf Club, Blue Canyon Country Club, and Aquella Golf and Country Club.

Hyvarinen, who was five strokes behind going to the final round after a 68-81-71 rounds, matched his third round one-under 71 to win the title by one stroke – and deny Catalan the title.

Catalan vowed to come back and try again next year.

“That’s for sure. I will try again next year, go to the qualifiers again, but I’ll make sure I’m prepared, 100 percent healthy,” said Catalan, who dislocated his left shoulder two weeks ago during a practice round.

Other members of the Philippine contingent in the WAGC – players who made the team through the qualifiers – were Abraham Avena, who placed 22nd in Division 1; Joseph Oliver Uy ranked 4th in Division 2; John Paul Gutierrez finished 18th in Division 3; Marinelle Sales was 8th in Division 4 and Atty. Marven Pañares 9th in Division 5.

Other by-invitation players in WAGI included Vicky Herrera (28th, Division 2), Joy Bagaloyos (2nd, Division 3), Lian, Batangas Vice Mayor Ronin Leviste (22nd, Division 3), Camarines Sur District 5 congressman Miguel Villafuerte (44th, Division 3), Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste (10th, Division 4), Mark Matsuyama (12th, Division 5), and Errol Chua (13th, Division 5).

Team Philippines placed 13th overall, while the tandem of Catalan and Leviste placed 10th, Bagaloyos and Herrera 22nd, Chua and Matsuyama 34th, and Villafuerte and Leviste (R) 48th. – Rappler.com

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