Micheel Casey Set for Match Play Finals

By Sports NetworkSeptember 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsVIRGINIA WATER, England -- Paul Casey made short work of Colin Montgomerie and Shaun Micheel held off Robert Karlsson on Saturday, setting up a surprising final at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
 
Casey, the 12th seed, continued his convincing Match Play debut with a 6 and 5 victory over Montgomerie in the semifinals. The duo will be teammates next week at the Ryder Cup.
 
'I got Colin on a slightly off day,' said Casey. 'I think I was very fortunate. I don't know what it was, but that wasn't Colin at his best simple as that.'
 
The 15th-seeded Micheel, who had already knocked off Tiger Woods and Luke Donald, escaped a back-and-forth match with a 2-up win over Karlsson, also a European Ryder Cup team member.
 
Casey and Micheel will now advance to Sunday's 36-hole final to play for the more than $1.86 million first-place prize -- the largest in the world among officially sanctioned events. The loser will receive $745,760 for second place.
 
Like he did in his match against Woods on Thursday, Micheel fell behind early against Karlsson when the 14th-seeded Swede won the first hole with a par and drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the fourth to go 2-up.
 
But Karlsson, who knocked off Jim Furyk in the first round, couldn't remain ahead. Micheel squared the match when Karlsson bogeyed the 12th, then took his first lead with a 30-foot birdie putt at the 13th.
 
Karlsson squared the match five times after that, but he never held a lead again.
 
Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion, carried his 1-up advantage into the break, but the match was squared again when, improbably, Karlsson won the ninth with a bogey after both players drove into the trees.
 
Karlsson squared the match twice more after Micheel took 1-up leads with birdies at the 28th and 30th holes, but fell behind for good when he missed a 14-foot par putt at the 33rd.
 
Micheel then clinched the match with birdie putts at the last two holes.
 
On the 18th, both players found a greenside bunker, but only Micheel could get up and down for a birdie. Karlsson managed just a par, keeping alive Micheel's chance of becoming the first American champion since Mark O'Meara in 1998.
 
Casey had an easier time with Montgomerie, the only former Match Play champion remaining in the field.
 
His first birdie at the fourth gave him a 1-up lead, and Montgomerie, the ninth seed and 1999 winner, was never able to square the match the rest of the way.
 
A fan favorite, Montgomerie made three bogeys and no birdies on his first eight holes, then found himself 5-down already when Casey collected back-to- back birdies at the ninth and 10th -- the last one set up by a great tee shot at the short par-3.
 
Casey led 5-up at the break, then went 6-up at the duo's 21st hole, the par-4 third, when Montgomerie made bogey from the sand. He moved 7-up with a birdie at the next.
 
The closest Montgomerie came after that was 5-down, which he did four times. The first time came on a Casey bogey at the seventh, but the Englishman followed that up with a 25-foot birdie putt to win the eighth.
 
'I did play some good golf at times, and I knew it was going to be a tough match, but he really let me off the hook,' Casey said.
 
Montgomerie complained about not getting any breaks, then said, 'but that's like a football manager complaining about the fourth goal being offside when you lose 6-0.
 
'He [Casey] played well, deserved this victory and the best of luck to him in the final,' Montgomerie added.
 
By making the final, Casey is guaranteed to pass David Howell for first place 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.
 
'It would be great if I went on and won,' Casey said. 'It would be by far the biggest win of my career. It shows me that what I've been working on in my game is paying off.'
 
Related Links:
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.