John Catlin sets Asian Tour record with astonishing 59, leads LIV golfers in Macau

A professional golfer has fired a sub-60 round for the second time this calendar year.

LIV Golf’s Joaquin Niemann first did so in February at Mayakoba during the circuit’s first event of the year. Then, on Saturday, during the third round of the International Series Macau, American John Catlin shot a 59 of his own, setting an Asian Tour record.

“I’m pretty much speechless,” Catlin said afterward to the South China Morning Post.

“It hasn’t totally sunk in yet.”

Catlin shot his 11-under 59 in dramatic fashion, draining a 20-footer for eagle on the par-5 18th to reach golf’s holy number.

“The putt [on 18] was a big, left-to-right swinger,” Catlin said of his eagle.

“I just happened to get the pace and the line right.”

Catlin now sits at 18-under through 54 holes, holding a two-shot lead over fellow American Jason Kokrak.

Seven of the 13 players within five shots of Catlin play on LIV Golf, including Kokrak, Patrick Reed, Pat Perez, and Australian Lucas Herbert.

Catlin, meanwhile, does not play on the LIV Golf circuit. He lost his DP World Tour card last year and has played in only four events so far in 2024. He withdrew from the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on the Thai Tour, tied for third at the Malaysian Open on the Asian Tour, and then tied for 50th at the Magical Kenyan Open, a DP World Tour event.

He has had a difficult couple of years, struggling on the course. His last professional victory came at the 2021 Austrian Golf Open on the DP World Tour.

“Just everything I’ve been through over the last two years, to be here, it’s pretty special,” Catlin said.

John Catlin tees off on the first hole during the third round of the International Series Macau.
Photo by Jason Butler/Getty Images

It’s not as if Catlin is starved for talent, either. The American won two marquee events on the DP World Tour in a three-week span in 2020: the Andalucía Masters and the Irish Open. In 2018, he won three events on the Asian Tour and earned the Asian Tour’s Player of the Year award.

But this week, the University of New Mexico product needed a special invite to compete in the International Series Macau.

And so far, he has taken full advantage of the opportunity.

Catlin fired rounds of 67 and 66 to put himself in contention through 36 holes. He then opened his magical third round with an incredible 6-under 28 that featured six birdies.

More birdies on the 11th and 13th followed.

“I didn’t realize I shot 28 on the front nine, so the magic number wasn’t really in my head until the 17th,” Catlin said.

The 17th is a 238-yard par-3, and Catlin birdied that hole, too.

He arrived at the 18th at 9-under for the day, needing a three at the last to reach that elusive number.

“I figured, well, three down the last,” Catlin said about his mindset on the 18th tee.

“And I just hit two beautiful shots in there.”

Indeed, he did.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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