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.'
 
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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”