For the contingent of fans clamoring for enhanced pace of play enforcement in professional golf, the start to the PGA Championship had a nice surprise in store.
John Catlin was assessed a rare slow-play penalty during his opening round at the Ocean Course on Thursday and was docked a stroke for the breach.
“Catlin’s first bad time occurred during the play of No. 16 (his 7th hole), where he took 74 seconds for his second shot, resulting in a pace of play warning,” the PGA Championship rules committee said in a statement. “Catlin’s second bad time took place during the play of hole No. 3 (his 12th hole), where he took 63 seconds for his second shot, resulting in a one-stroke pace of play penalty.”
The 30-year-old was penalized under Rule 5.6b, which states, “when it is your turn to play, it is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are able to play without interference or distraction. You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.”
Catlin bogeyed No. 3 after the penalty to drop him to three over for the day. He finished with six straight pars coming home and signed for a 75 at the end of his opening round. He’s currently six shots back of the three-under lead posted by four players in the morning wave.
Although Catlin has won three times on the European Tour, this is his first appearance in a major championship. He (along with Rickie Fowler) received a special invitation to compete at the Ocean Course on the strength of his play in Europe over the last year.
Catlin will tee off on No. 1 at 1:14 p.m. ET on Friday for the second round.