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Finally healthy, Casey optimistic about 2013 season

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Various injuries have helped precipitate Paul Casey’s fall from the world’s elite. But finally healthy, the 35-year-old Englishman believes that he’s close to regaining the form that saw him rise to a career-best No. 3 in the world ranking only three years ago.

“I believe my best years are still ahead of me, because I feel I’m capable of playing better golf than I did in 2006 or 2009,” Casey told EuropeanTour.com on the eve of the Omega European Masters. “This year has been tough, so I’m already looking forward to the remaining events this year and getting off to a fast start next year.”

An 11-time winner on the European Tour, Casey was hampered by a painful turf toe injury during much of the 2011 season, and last winter, he dislocated his right shoulder while snowboarding in Colorado. Though he was expected to miss only two months, it took him longer to return to form.

When Casey finally returned to the PGA Tour, at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, he tied for 51st in the no-cut event, then proceeded to miss the cut in three consecutive events. He withdrew from The Players, citing discomfort in his right shoulder, and also was unfit to play at the U.S. Open. After being sidelined for two months, Casey missed the cut at the British Open and PGA Championship, and failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs after finishing 233rd on the points list.

Now, he is ranked 104th in the world.  

“I’ll be playing mainly on the European Tour (in 2013),” Casey said, according to the site, “and the aim is to get back into the winner’s circle.”