Bo Van Pelt may have won the war, but Paul Casey won an important battle of his own in the ISPS HANDA Perth International in Australia.
Casey’s fifth-place finish marks his best European Tour result since a fourth in last year’s WGC–HSBC Champions event. Hopefully it marks the start of a welcome comeback for the talented Englishman. He certainly thinks so.
“This is the best I’ve felt in probably a few years. The form is coming around really nicely,” Casey said.
“With the form I’m starting to show, it’s a case of wanting to be out there, play as much as I can and I feel it’s not going to be long before I’m back in the winner’s circle.”
The Englishman has 11 European Tour wins, along with one PGA Tour victory, the 2009 Shell Houston Open. However, he hasn’t won since January 2011, the Volvo Golf Champions event in Bahrain.
While fellow Englishmen Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter shined at the recent Ryder Cup, Casey was conspicuous by his absence. He hasn’t played in the match since 2008, but at least two years ago he was considered as one of European captain Colin Montgomerie’s picks. He wasn’t even in Jose Maria Olazabal’s thinking this year. His stock has sunk so low that he arrived in Australia 133rd in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The former Arizona State player looked poised for major championship glory when he finished third in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. However, a dislocated shoulder suffered in a snowboarding accident at the start of this year threw Casey’s world into disarray.
Despite a full recovery, the Englishman has struggled to find the form that took him to World No. 3 in 2009. His best finish on this year’s European Tour before Australia had been 25th in the Ballantine’s Championship. His performance on the PGA Tour has been even worse. In nine events he’s missed six cuts, withdrew from The Players Championship and placed T-51 in the no-cut WGC–Cadillac Championship.
Casey’s play in Australia was no fluke. He turned up in Perth fresh from a third-place finish in the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea.
Currently 135th on the European Tour money list, the Englishman needs to get inside the top 60 to play in the DP World Tour Championship. He’s focused on the easiest way to get there.
“I’m still not in Dubai but the goal is to win before the end of the year – simple as that,” Casey said. “A win before the end of the year, because the three I’m playing, BMW (Masters), Singapore (Barclays Singapore Open) and Hong Kong (UBS Hong Kong Open), they are all great events, and certainly BMW and Singapore are big money, as well.
“So I think ignore trying to get into Dubai – just try and win. That solves every problem.”
It would also be a huge boost to his comeback hopes.