Casey surges into share of lead at Qatar Masters


2009 European TourDOHA, Qatar – Paul Casey showed a return to form in shooting a 6-under 66 Saturday to share the lead with Bradley Dredge after the third round of the Qatar Masters.

The 32-year-old Casey arrived in Doha still feeling the effects of a lingering rib muscle injury and having missed the cut in each of his three previous appearances at the tournament. But he made seven birdies along with a single bogey to sit tied with Dredge (70) with a 10-under total of 206.

“I am still only 95 percent fit with the rib and had no reason to be confident arriving here given my previous record on this course,” Casey said. “But I am playing well now on a tough course where you cannot afford to make mistakes and looking forward to the challenge of trying to win.”

Dredge is looking for his first title since the 2006 European Masters, and is hoping to make an early case for inclusion on the European Ryder Cup team.

“Coming from Wales and with the Ryder Cup being played at Celtic Manor, making the team is my big goal for this year,” Dredge said. “There are a lot of world ranking points available this week and I could do with them. I will be looking for a big finish.”

The duo will be chased by Lee Westwood in the final round, after the Englishman shot a 70 to stay one shot off the lead – despite cracking the head of his driver on the 11th tee. Under the rules, he was not allowed to have a replacement brought to him on the course.

“The shaft felt soft,” Westwood said about the spare driver in his bag. “It affected my rhythm and it happened at a critical stage of the round. If I could have made a couple of birdies over the closing holes I might have had a two shot lead.”

Brett Rumford, who held the overnight lead, only managed a 73 to sit three shots back. He started the day by holing a 6-foot putt for birdie, but then dropped two shots on his next five holes and kept struggling on the greens.

Robert Karlsson of Sweden is also in a tie for fourth, while England’s Oliver Wilson (72) and Spain’s Alvaro Quiros (68) are another shot back.