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Friday, 19 March 2010

Paul Casey’s luggage may not have made it across the Pacific, prompting a raid on the Nike store for some new clothes, but the Englishman remained upbeat as he prepared to tackle the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in the 2007 BMW Asian Open.

Casey arrived in China from the United States having enjoyed a short break since finishing joint tenth in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National and can take plenty of positives from his performance in the season’s first Major.

“Hopefully my lack of luggage shouldn’t affect the game,” said Casey, proudly sporting his new attire. “I feel fresh, I feel ready after playing the Masters a couple of weeks ago and if I continue the good golf I played there I should be in for a good week.

“I am going to take a lot of positives out of it because I did play some good golf. The first 18 holes was disappointing but the last 54 holes was pretty good. Level par for the last 54 holes even after bogeying the last two holes was good. I just have to eliminate the mistakes. It has been the same case all year as I have played some good golf but made mistakes here and there. But it is going the right way. To be tenth in the first Major of the year isn’t bad. I’ve just got to see if I can improve as the year goes on.”

Casey has enjoyed considerable success in this part of the world with two victories in China among his eight European Tour titles but a BMW-sponsored victory has so far eluded last year’s European Tour Player of the Year.

“I have done well in China,” admitted Casey. “I have not won a BMW event yet though so that would be nice. They have made a couple of changes this year and moved around a few of the holes and it is a good field. There are a lot of world ranking points here with Ernie and Goose and I would like to be up there at the end of the week. But it will take some very, very good golf.”

Casey was speaking at the launch of the tournament alongside Retief Goosen, joint runner-up at the Masters, Colin Montgomerie, defending champion Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Chinese champions Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei.

Ernie Els, whose arrival in Shanghai has been delayed after he narrowly missed out in weather-affected the Verizon Heritage where he finished second to Boo Weekly, is another of the world’s top players in the field along with John Daly.

Like Casey, Goosen is looking to build on his impressive Masters performance as he looks to continue his success in China.

“I'm looking forward to it,” said Goosen. “The golf course looks to be in very good condition and I feel my game is getting much better. It's always great coming out to China and I enjoy being here and enjoy the crowds.

“I played well at the weekend at the Masters and sort of got my game going which gives it a positive sort of boost for the events coming up.”

Montgomerie, who missed out on a place in the play-off in last year’s BMW Asian Open by a stroke, was also an upbeat mood and will be aiming for his 31st European Tour title this week.

“Playing against Ernie and Retief, Paul Casey and another strong field is important. It is a big tournament and they are all worth winning. I have not won for a while and miss being in the winners’ circle and look forward to getting back there.

“Last year I was one shot off the play-off which is always disappointing. You can think of one shot you can save every three holes let alone over 72 holes so that is one of the reasons I have come back here, to try and do better.”

The BMW Asian Open, co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour and China Golf Association, carries a record prize fund of $2.3 million. The course has been re-routed since last year with the old 15th now playing as the final hole.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-10
2KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-8
T3HEND, ScottAUS18-7
T3YATES, SimonSCO18-7
T5ELS, ErnieRSA18-6
T5STERNE, RichardRSA18-6
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