Casey brings No 3 ranking to Colonial

By Associated PressMay 27, 2009, 4:00 pm
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FORT WORTH, Texas ' Paul Casey arrived at the Crowne Plaza Invitational a bit overwhelmed.
 
His body was worn out from flying to England last week, winning the prestigious BMW PGA Championship with birdies on the final two holes, hoisting a few glasses in celebration and then getting on a plane and flying back to the United States.
 
There also was the head-spinning part.
 
With that victory, Casey ' who started the year ranked No. 41 ' vaulted to No. 3 in the world rankings, behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Thats keeping some pretty good company. So is this: He joined Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie as the only British players to climb that high since the world rankings began.
 
Im not sure its sunk in yet, he said.
 
Adding to the commotion this week is the fact Casey will be playing a tournament at the Colonial Country Club for the first time.
 
He arrived Tuesday at the historic venue known as Hogans Alley, but opted not to play a morning round (I figured my bed was more inviting.) He was back Wednesday for the pro-am and, on Thursday, will be eager to try building on a breakout season that also includes a runner-up finish at the Accenture Match Play Championship and a victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
 
Casey has a list of reasons for this kick start to his career. There are swing improvements, like better approach shots and more touch with his putter, to being in better shape. All told, it's left him with a better attitude, 'sort of a little bit of belief in my own game that I could, you know, win more frequently, certainly win on the PGA Tour.'
 
The win in Abu Dhabi help fuel all of that, he said. Without the win in Abu Dhabi, I doubt I would have finished second at the Match Play. And the second at the Match Play really helped with the win at Houston. And the win at Houston sort of helped for last week, so it sort of snowballed.
 
Now comes a new heat to try melting that snowball ' the expectations that come with being the worlds best player not named Tiger or Phil.
 
Its kind of fun, said Casey, who in his days at Arizona State erased Pac-10 records set by Woods and Mickelson. I think its a little bit of responsibility that goes with (being No. 3) and pressure. I have had that before, but not in the U.S. Ive had that in Europe quite a bit. I think it assists me in some respects because I do take that very seriously. I feel like I need to perform. I will be quickly overtaken if I take my focus off the ball.
 
Mickelson is the defending champion in Fort Worth and a two-time recipient of the plaid jacket that goes to this tournaments winner, but hes taken an indefinite leave to be with his wife after announcing last week that she has breast cancer. A pink out will be held Saturday, with golfers, caddies and others wearing pink to support Amy Mickelson and to help raise money to fight the disease.
 
Instead of Mickelson, the most recent Colonial winner teeing off Thursday will be 2007 champ Rory Sabbatini, who also comes in fresh off winning the Byron Nelson Championship last weekend.
 
Sabbatini already has joined Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Mickelson and Sergio Garcia among the 14 golfers to win both events in their careers. Only Hogan won both the same year, doing so in 1946.
 
Sabbatini has a lot going for him. Theres the momentum of last week, memories of his third-round 62 in 2007 and, perhaps most of all, his familiarity with the changes made to the course since last year. Geoff Ogilvy described them as subtle but tricky, like a lowered tee box on No. 3 and a bunker on No. 14 thats gone from outside the dogleg to the inside, bringing it much more into play.
 
I dont live too far from here so Ive played it quite a numerous times since the redesign, said Sabbatini, who moved to Fort Worth from another nearby suburb less than two years ago and considers Colonial one of his two home clubs. Theyve done a wonderful job. They kept a lot of the succinct intricacies about the golf course out here so that makes it challenging and just toughened it up a bit.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."