On a jubilant first day for the Tour following a long period of inactivity caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the American shot a dazzling round consisting of two eagles and three birdies on the famous Canyon Course.
Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang and South African Ian Snyman also impressed with 66s to sit in second place, while Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai fired a 67.
Catlin has been in inspired form over the past three years - claiming four Asian Tour titles and three European Tour wins - and gave another masterclass yesterday.
“I made a few long ones, I just happened to play good. And I took advantage of the par fives,” said the 31-year-old Californian.
He eagled the par-five ninth after holing a 30-footer following a brave three-iron second shot, and later eagled the par-five 15th after nailing a 3-wood to nine feet.
The American based himself in Hua Hin, Thailand, when he played on the Asian Tour and this week marks the first time he has been back in well over a year.
“Last time I was here was in May 2020. Feels great, like I have been saying for the past four years it feels like a second home,” he added.
Chan has also been in prolific form of late, recording four wins on his country’s domestic circuit this year. He was also runner-up in last week’s Yeangder TPC - an event normally played on the Asian Tour but wasn’t this year because of COVID.
“It’s been long since we last came out to play. I am really excited this week. I’ve been playing well back home and the competitions have kept my game in shape,” said Chan, who won twice on the Asian Tour in 2016.
Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana was tied fifth with Indian duo Shiv Kapur, S Chikkarangappa and Americans Paul Peterson and Kim Si-Hwan.
Nine players were unable to finish the opening round yesterday because of bad light.
Scores after round 1 of the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship being played at the par 72, 7257 Yards Blue Canyon CC course (am - denotes amateur):
65 - John Catlin (USA).
66 - Chan Shih-chang (TPE), Ian Snyman (RSA).
67 - Phachara Khongwatmai (THA).
68 - Shiv Kapur (IND), Paul Peterson (USA), Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA), S Chikkarangappa (IND), Sihwan Kim (USA).
69 - Scott Hend (AUS), Mathiam Keyser (RSA), Honey Baisoya (IND), Karandeep Kochhar (IND), Ben Leong (MAS), Dodge Kemmer (USA), Justin Quiban (PHI), Danthai Boonma (THA), Viraj Madappa (IND), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Joohyung Kim (KOR), Bjorn Hellgren (SWE), Raththee Sirithanakunsak (THA).
70 - Berry Henson (USA), Veer Ahlawat (IND), Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND), Heungchol Joo (KOR), Panuphol Pittayarat (THA), Doyeob Mun (KOR), Wolmer Murillo (VEN), Bio Kim (KOR), Kasidit Lepkurte (THA), Sarit Suwannarut (THA), S.S.P Chawrasia (IND), Pawin Ingkhapradit (THA), Chapchai Nirat (THA), Chang Wei-lun (TPE), Nitithorn Thippong (THA), Taehoon Ok (KOR), Ryan Lumsden (SCO).
71 - Zach Bauchou (USA), Richard T. Lee (CAN), Miguel Tabuena (PHI), Prom Meesawat (THA), Pavit Tangkamolprasert (THA), Naras Luangphetcharaporn (THA), Suttijet Kooratanapisan (THA), Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (THA), Khalin Joshi (IND), Thaya Limpipolpaibul (THA), Kosuke Hamamoto (THA), Micah Lauren Shin (USA), Ratchanon Chantananuwat (am, THA), Siddikur Rahman (BAN), Yoseop Seo (KOR), Piya Sawangarunporn (THA), Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Hein Sithu (MYN), Poom Pattaropong (THA).
72 - Bongsub Kim (KOR), Ratchapol Jantavara (THA), Ben Campbell (NZL), Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA), Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA), Sungho Lee (KOR), Waris Manthorn (THA), Trevor Simsby (USA), Jarin Todd (USA), Sam Brazel (AUS), Pannakorn Uthaipas (THA), Kwanchai Tannin (THA), Seung Park (KOR), Wang Wei-hsuan (TPE), Dongeun Kim (KOR), Nopparat Panichphol (THA), Aman Raj (IND).
73 - Aadil Bedi (IND), Galven Green (MAS), Sangchai Kaewcharoen (THA), Newport Laparojkit (THA), Sarun Sirithon (THA), Witchayapat Sinsrang (THA), Rory Hie (INA), Travis Smyth (AUS), Andrew Martin (AUS), Byungjun Kim (KOR), Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (THA), Poosit Supupramai (THA), Kammalas Namuangruk (THA).
74 - Thanpisit Omsin (THA), Chanat Sakulpolphaisan (THA), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Will Heffernan (AUS), Steve Lewton (ENG), Chanachok Dejpiratanamongkol (THA), Chaiphat Koonmark (THA), Sattaya Supupramai (THA), Christoffer Baumann (SWE), Kevin Phelan (IRL).
75 - Denwit Boriboonsub (THA), Vanchai Luangnitikul (THA), Koh Deng Shan (SIN), Jazz Janewattananond (THA), Gavin Green (MAS), Nirun Sae-Ueng (THA), Nicholas Fung (MAS), Ben Eccles (AUS), Charng-Tai Sudsom (THA), Curtis Knipes (ENG), Antonio Lascuna (PHI), Rattanon Wannasrichan (THA), Shinichi Mizuno (JPN).
76 - Poom Saksansin (THA), Rashid Khan (IND), Jake Higginbottom (AUS), Othman Almulla (KSA), Shergo Al Kurdi (JOR), Settee Prakongvech (THA), David Langley (ENG), Cory Crawford (AUS), Peradol Panyathanasedh (THA), Pawat Prachoomsrisakul (THA), Atiruj Winaicharoenchai (THA).
77 - Pasavee Lertvilai (THA), Udayan Mane (IND), Janne Kaske (FIN), Amir Nazrin (MAS).
78 - Saud Alsharif (am, KSA), Danny Masrin (INA).
79 - Yikeun Chang (KOR), Sungyeol Kwon (KOR).
81 - Abdulrahman Almansour (am, KSA), Faisal Alsalhab (am, KSA), Lionel Weber (FRA).
82 - Donlaphatchai Niyomchon (THA).
91 - David Gleeson (AUS).