Casey Trounces Micheel in England

By Sports NetworkSeptember 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsVIRGINIA WATER, England -- Paul Casey will head to the Ryder Cup in stride after easily beating Shaun Micheel on Sunday to win the HSBC World Match Play Championship
Casey took a commanding lead late in the morning round, kept his foot on the pedal and cruised to a 10-and-8 win in the 36-hole final. It was the largest winning margin for a final match in the event's history.
For his impressive Match Play debut, Casey earned more than $1.86 million -- the most lucrative winner's check in the world among officially sanctioned events.
'I'll stick it somewhere very, very safe, I'm sure,' he joked.
The financial windfall moved Casey ahead of David Howell on the European Tour Order of Merit, ending Howell's bid to become the first player to go wire-to-wire as Order of Merit champion.
Casey competed like the No. 1 player in Europe this week.
Before Sunday's handling of Micheel, his victories came against Retief Goosen, Mike Weir and European Ryder Cup teammate Colin Montgomerie.
Casey didn't play more than 33 holes in any of those matches and was never more than 2-down. Montgomerie, the only former champion who made the semifinals, never even held a lead against Casey on Saturday.
Heading to the K Club for his second Ryder Cup next week, Casey is peaking at the right time.
'Maybe desire, maybe a little bit of luck,' Casey explained his exceptional play. 'This week has been wonderful preparation for next week.'
Micheel's dubious defeat shouldn't overshadow an impressive and surprising run that included strong wins over world No. 1 Tiger Woods and world No. 10 Luke Donald.
'I'm playing well and I'm not going to let today or any other day ruin it for me,' said the 2003 PGA champion.
Micheel played steadily on the first nine holes, collecting a pair of birdies, but Casey had four birdies in the same stretch to go 2-up around the turn.
'I thought it was important to win one hole early or two holes just to get some momentum,' Micheel said. 'But he struck the ball beautifully and made a lot of nice putts.'
With a birdie at the 11th, Micheel pulled within 1-down. But the match took a turn in Casey's favor -- and remained there -- when Micheel badly botched the par-4 16th despite hitting the fairway while his opponent found a fairway bunker.
Micheel fired his approach over the green and against the grandstand and was given a free drop. But he lined his third shot past the hole and off the front of the green.
Casey won the hole with a bogey, then carried a 3-up lead into the break after taking the 17th with a birdie.
He moved 4-up with a 16-foot birdie putt at the 20th hole, the par-3 second at the Wentworth Club, then took a 5-up advantage with another birdie two holes later.
Casey only needed to two-putt from 16 feet to win the 24th hole with a par and take a 6-up lead. He ended the match by winning four straight holes with a birdie, including a seven-footer at the 25th hole.
Afterward, a lot was made about the falloff of Micheel's game from the first three rounds.
'Unfortunately, Shaun didn't play the best golf. But he's a hell of a competitor and he'll be back,' Casey said.
Micheel lamented his Sunday mistakes, talked about what a frustrating day it was and tipped his cap to Casey for playing well.
'It's always disheartening when you make it this far and don't play well,' he said. 'Maybe it was fatigue, but I don't feel fatigued. I had a nice week here. It was just a little disappointing to not take this thing to the end.'
Casey now has seven career wins on the European Tour, including three this year. He and Johan Edfors are the only three-time winners this season.
'I really wanted to win this,' Casey said. 'Yesterday, I was just happy to be in the final. Today, I'm happy to have my hands on this trophy.'
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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.