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Catlin and Higgo maintain momentum on Tenerife

Catlin and Higgo maintain momentum on Tenerife

John Catlin and Garrick Higgo continued their excellent recent form as they fired a pair of 63s on day one of the 2021 Tenerife Open - but it could have been so much better for Catlin.

John Catlin

The American won his third European Tour title in eight months two weeks ago at the Austrian Golf Open and got confirmation this week that he will make his Major Championship debut at next month's US PGA Championship.

He brought that form with him as he turned in 30 at Golf Costa Adeje after teeing off on the tenth and, after starting the front nine with four birdies, he needed to pick up two more shots in his last five holes for a 59.

He missed a golden opportunity for birdie from six feet on the seventh and his chance to become just the second player after Oliver Fisher to go sub 60 on the European Tour was gone after a bogey bogey finish.

An opening 63 still left him eight under after 18 holes, and Catlin admitted 59 had been very much on his mind.

"I got off to a really nice start on my front nine, the back nine," he said. "I made five birdies in six holes, I think my longest putt was four feet. I had another four footer on 18 to shoot 30.

"It started to get really special around the fifth. I felt confident in my game. 

"It was unfortunate to finish the way I did but I’ll take the positives. We have three more days so we will see where everything settles.

"It’s hard not to have 59 in your mind. You just keep pushing forward. I was still able to execute good golf shots and I had some good chances coming down there on both the par threes. 

"The first real opportunity I’ve had at a tournament to shoot 59. I’ve had a chance, but I had to birdie like four of the last five, so to only have to birdie the last two, that definitely becomes a little more real. I didn’t get it done this time but who knows what’s going to happen in the future."

Higgo is an even more recent winner, having lifted the trophy at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open just four days ago.

This game is hard, sometimes it’s hard. I’m just trying to ride the wave - Garrick Higgo

Like playing partner Catlin, he also turned in 30 - with the help of an eagle on the 13th - but a bogey on the second stalled the South African's momentum before he picked up shots on the third, sixth and seventh.

"I kept going from last week," he said. "Good scoring straight into today - four under through four. 

"This game is hard, sometimes it’s hard. I’m just trying to ride the wave. 

"It’s similar grass (to last week’s course), although this is a bit more similar to what we play on back home. The greens are fast - I like a bit of spice. 

"My form is good so I am just trying to do the same things."

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