Paul Casey finally gets another win

English: Paul Casey winner of the PGA Champion...

English: Paul Casey winner of the PGA Championship at Wentworth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul Casey fired a final round 67 at Carton House to get his first win in two and a half years at the 2013 Irish Open.
 
What Happened
 
Joost Luiten and Pablo Larrazabal entered Sunday’s round in the final group, with Luiten one shot ahead of Larrazabal at 13-under par. Both players struggled with 1-over par 37’s on the front nine, while Casey was able to birdie the 8th and 9th to get to 11-under par and only one behind the lead of Luiten, who was also joined by recent European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Olazabal, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2005, had strung together three birdies on the front nine and picked up another one at 10, before bogeying the next two and falling out of contention. Casey’s hot run continued through the difficult stretch on the first few holes of the back nine, playing 10-13 in three under par, but bogeys would come on 15 and 16, while playing partner Robert Rock joined the fray at 11-under par. Casey had a one-shot lead as they approached the par-5 18th, where he would make an eagle to get to 14-under par and pick up the win.
 
Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Paul Casey -14
  • T2. Robert Rock -11
  • T2. Joost Luiten -11
  • T2. Pablo Larrazabal -11

What The Win Means For Casey
 
We talked last week about Ken Duke being a journeyman and how his win at the Travelers was a big deal because it gave him job security for the next few years, and while Casey wasn’t in that dire of a situation, he wasn’t that far off. Casey’s last win came in January of 2011 at the Volvo Golf Champions, and since then he’s dealt with a myriad of injuries and inconsistent play. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that if Casey continued to have poor performances, that not only would his exemptions run out, there’s a good chance that Nike would have dropped him from their athlete roster. It’s amazing to me that we’re talking about Casey in these terms considering his talent level, and where he was in the golf world just a couple of years ago. He got to number three in the Official World Golf Ranking in May of 2009 after winning the BMW PGA and stayed inside the top ten until June of 2011. Coming into this week, he had fallen to 169th in the world, his lowest rank since August of 2001.
 
There were signs of improvement towards the end of last year and into 2013, with six consecutive top-25 finishes from October to January, and he did finish tied for 8th in China last month, but this is obviously the best sign that he could be close to getting it all back again. For a player who was thought to be one of the most consistent players in the world, his fall from grace was very unexpected, but it appears that Paul Casey is back on the radar as a player to watch in 2013.
 
Rory McIlroy misses the cut
 
Another week goes by where the golf media is predicting doom and gloom for Rory McIlroy. McIlroy picked up his second MC of the year and everyone is lining up and attempting to figure out what’s wrong with the Northern Irishman. I probably keep sounding like a broken record, but the golf world would probably be a lot better off if the expectation wasn’t that this guy was going to be the next Tiger Woods. He’s an exceedingly talented player who seems to battle with consistency issues. If he turns out to be more Mickelson and less Woods, I’d say he’s had a hell of a career, but obviously some people don’t see it that way, preferring to take him down as many pegs as they can. One thing to keep in mind everyone: he’s 24 years old. Not everyone figures it all out right away.
 
Other Notes

  • Notables to miss the cut: Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Scott Jamieson and Darren Clarke.
  • Notable finishes: Olazabal, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Shane Lowry and Alvaro Quiros (T5), Jamie Donaldson (T10), Thomas Bjorn (T18), Ross Fisher (T22), Francesco Molinari and Peter Uihlein (T32), and Paul Lawrie (T47).
  • Always great to see Olazabal near the top of the leaderboard, but had to think that it was all going to come to an end at some point. His short game can keep him in it, but the putter looked a little leaky towards the end on Sunday.
  • Thought it was interesting that Colin Montgomerie chose to play on the Champions Tour this week instead of at Carton House. Considering that he designed the course, you’d think he’d want to make an appearance.
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