Irish Open champion John Catlin celebrated qualifying for his first Major championship by threatening to record the second 59 in European Tour history in the Tenerife Open on Thursday.
Catlin, whose third win in 13 events in the Austrian Open earlier this month secured a place in May’s US PGA Championship, started from the 10th at Costa Adeje – a par-71 layout – and covered his first 13 holes in 10 under par.
That left the in-form American needing to play the last five in two under to join England's Oliver Fisher in carding a 59, but good birdie chances went begging on the fifth and seventh before the 30-year-old bogeyed his last two holes.
An eight-under-par 63 gave Catlin a share of second place with last week's winner Garrick Higgo, Dean Burmester and Alexander Bjork, a shot behind Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen.
“It’s hard not to have 59 in your mind,” Catlin admitted. “I was still able to execute good golf shots and I had some good chances on both the par threes.
“I’ve had a chance before to shoot 59 but I had to birdie like four of the last five, so to only to have to birdie the last two, that definitely becomes a little more real.
“It was unfortunate to finish the way I did, but I’ll take the positives.”
Speaking about his Major debut next month, Catlin added: “I have never played Kiawah Island before but I hear it’s a very challenging golf course.
“I like my record on challenging golf courses [he won at Valderrama last year], so we’ll see how that goes, but I’m very excited to play my first Major.”
Playing just his second event of 2021 due to a combination of testing positive for Covid-19, a wrist injury and becoming a father for the first time, Olesen set the pace after a round containing 10 birdies and one bogey.
“I think the first nine holes was the best putting display I’ve shown for a very long time,” the former Ryder Cup winner said. “I just had to look at it and it went in.
“To be honest my expectations for this week are low as well. I was very happy to finish top five [last week], that was amazing. I haven’t been that high on a leaderboard for a very long time. Being in contention again was a great feeling and something I’ve missed very much for the last few years.”
Olesen was suspended by the European Tour after he was arrested and charged with sexual assault, being drunk on a plane and assault by beating after an alleged incident on a flight from Nashville to London in July 2019.
The 31-year-old pleaded not guilty to all charges at a court hearing in December that year, but delays in legal proceedings due to the coronavirus saw his suspension lifted in July 2020. He is not due to appear in court again until December at the earliest.
Jonathan Caldwell dropped shots on his final two holes having recorded a hat-trick of birdies just beforehand as he signed for a five-under 66.
Northern Irish teenager Tom McKibbin carded a one-under-par 70 on his professional debut, although with all the low scoring it was only enough for a share of 86th position.
Dubliner Niall Kearney went one better after carding a 69 that included birdies at four of the Par 5s on the layout. Paul Dunne (72) and Cormac Sharvin (73) need to go low in their second rounds to make the weekend.
British and Irish unless stated, par 71
62 Thorbjoern Olesen (Den)
63 Alexander Bjork (Swe), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Garrick Higgo (Rsa), John Catlin (USA)
64 Eduard Rousaud (Esp), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Nicolai von Dellingshausen (Ger), Robin Sciot-Siegrist (Fra)
65 Adri Arnaus (Esp), Joost Luiten (Ned), Laurie Canter, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Pep Angles (Esp), Toby Tree
66 Jonathan Caldwell, Julian Suri (USA), Justin Harding (Rsa), Louis de Jager (Rsa), Maverick Antcliff (Aus), Pablo Larrazabal (Esp), Scott Hend (Aus), Sebastian Garcia (Esp)
67 Alexander Levy (Fra), Andrew Johnston, David Coupland, Eduardo de la Riva (Esp), Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Jordan Smith, Marcel Schneider (Ger), Matthew Southgate, Nino Bertasio (Ita), Paul Waring, Sami Valimaki (Fin), Sean Crocker (USA), Sihwan Kim (Kor), Yikeun Chang (Kor)
68 Adrian Meronk (Pol), Alejandro Canizares (Esp), Ashley Chesters, Benjamin Hebert (Fra), Darius van Driel (Ned), Eddie Pepperell, Francesco Laporta (Ita), Grant Forrest, Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Jake McLeod (Aus), James Morrison, Justin Walters (Rsa), Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Matthew Jordan, Matthias Schwab (Aut), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Richard Mansell
69 Aaron Cockerill (Can), Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (Esp), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), David Law, Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Jack Senior, Jamie Donaldson, Janne Kaske (Fin), Jeff Winther (Den), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), Julien Guerrier (Fra), Lars van Meijel (Ned), Matt Ford, Max Schmitt (Ger), Niall Kearney, Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den), Oliver Farr, Pedro Oriol (Esp), Peter Hanson (Swe), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Richard Bland, Richie Ramsay, Ross Fisher, Scott Fernandez (Esp), Scott Jamieson, Sebastian Heisele (Ger), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin)
70 Alejandro Del Rey (Esp), Ashun Wu (Chn), Ben Evans, Berry Henson (USA), Carlos Pigem (Esp), Chris Wood, Clement Sordet (Fra), Garrick Porteous, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp), Guido Migliozzi (Ita), Johannes Veerman (USA), Jorge Campillo (Esp), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Ricardo Santos (Por), Sebastian Soederberg (Swe), Shiv Chawrasia (Ind), Tom McKibben
71 Callum Shinkwin, Calum Hill, Connor Syme, Dale Whitnell, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry), Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Luis Claverie (Esp), Marcus Armitage, Renato Paratore (Ita), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Victor Dubuisson (Fra), Zander Lombard (Rsa)
72 Adrien Saddier (Fra), Alvaro Hernandez (Esp), Alvaro Quiros (Esp), Borja Virto (Esp), Euan Walker, Gregory Havret (Fra), Ignacio Elvira (Esp), Kurt Kitayama (USA), Liam Johnston, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Ondrej Lieser (Cze), Paul Dunne (Irl), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Rhys Enoch, Tom Gandy (IoM)
73 Cormac Sharvin, Joel Stalter (Fra), Oliver Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Robin Roussel (Fra), Samuel Del Val (Esp)
74 David Drysdale, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Ivan Cantero (Esp), Steven Tiley
75 Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind), David Horsey, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Richard McEvoy, Ross McGowan
76 Lee Slattery
77 Benjamin Poke (Den), Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Romain Langasque (Fra)
78 Antoine Rozner (Fra)
79 Tyler Koivisto (USA)