Casey crushes Micheel in record win
Tournament: HSBC World Match Play Championship
Venue: Wentworth Club, Surrey, England
Winner Paul Casey
Paul Casey will go into the Ryder Cup in a blaze of glory after thrashing American Shaun Micheel by a record 10/8 in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.
Yes the same Shaun Micheel had who sent World No1 Tiger Woods packing in the first round, top Brit Luke Donald in the quarters and Sweden’s in-form Robert Karlsson in the semi-finals
The 29-year-old English star will also head for the K Club near Dublin with a bank balance swelled by £1million, his first ever top spot on the European Tour’s Order of Merit list and almost certainly his first-ever Top 20 spot in the World Rankings.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do with £1million yet – I’ll stick it somewhere very safe,” said Casey as the celebrations began.
“It’s wonderful to put my name on the roll of honour here and it’s been wonderful preparation for the Ryder Cup too.”
All this comes just a year after a nightmare slump which saw Casey fail to make a single halfway cut from April until August, quit the US Open after an opening 85, not make a 10-strong Britain and Ireland side forn their joust with Europe and drop to 72nd in the world.
Casey, three times a winner this season, will now look to be one of the spearheads of Europe’s bid to win an unprecedented third successive Ryder Cup.
On his debut two years ago he played only twice, partnering David Howell – the player he replaces at the top of the money list – to a vital fourball success, but then losing in the top singles to Woods.
He had a far easier ride than he might have expected today against a man who had looked unstoppable all week.
But the 37-year-old Micheel, who won’t be with the Americans at the K Club despite finishing second to Woods at last month’s US PGA, seemed to run out of gas on Sunday.
He also ran out of shirts.
Perhaps the aspirations of a golfer coming into the Wentworth event in 77th place on the World Rankings list weren’t all that high. It certainly seemed so for he hadn’t packed enough shirts and had to wear the same shirt as he had for the semi-finals.
An apparent falling-out with his Australian caddie during the morning could not have helped him either.
In contrast, Casey did his best to look like a British Tiger – red shirt for the last day to go with his Nike gear and some pretty devastating golf at times as well.
He had already beaten major winners Retief Goosen and Mike Weir and teammate Colin Montgomerie without needing to play the final three holes, but once his lead over Micheel became three at halfway, he became invincible in what was easily the most commanding performance of his career.
An impressive opening nine holes played in a four-under-par 31 put Casey two up and although Micheel twice halved that deficit as mistakes crept into both men’s games, he then lost the 16th and 17th.
The second of those was due to a superb birdie from the Surrey golfer, who reached the green on the 610-yard hole with a drive and three-wood, the first at the 16th where Micheel over flew the green with his approach, chipped back too strongly and then three putted for a double-bogey six.
Casey won it even though he had three putted himself and at this stage an angry Micheel not only told his caddie to keep his mouth shut in the future, but was also heard to threaten him with the sack as they walked to the 17th tee.
They were still together, though, when both men birdied the par-five 18th and went to lunch – and were still together when play resumed an hour later.
Casey went four clear with a 15-footer at the 20th and although he hooked into the trees on the next, he got away with a half, Micheel having found sand and also making a bogey.
After that it became one-way traffic.
Casey birdied the par-five next, Micheel bogeyed the 24th, Casey pitched to four feet on the 25th and five feet at the 26th for birdies and four holes were won on the trot.
Suddenly the gap was eight and it was effectively all over.
Casey, the first debutant to win since Ernie Els in 1994, had a third successive birdie and when Micheel conceded on the next he had suffered the biggest defeat in the final in the event’s 43-year history.
“He made a couple of mistakes early on, but I made a couple right on top of him,” said the American. “He played great, but it was kind of frustrating – I really wanted to win, but it was just not meant to be.
“My expectations were not that high starting the week and seeing the field, but having got to the final it’s a little disappointing not to contend in it.”
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