Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Paul Casey  (Getty Images)
Paul Casey (Getty Images)

World Number Nine Paul Casey hopes to have removed any rust from his game in Abu Dhabi last week as he prepares for the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain.

The highest-ranked player in the field this week, the Englishman finished in a tie for 18th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in what was his first event on the 2011 Race to Dubai.

A hole-in-one during the Saturday's third round 67 was the highlight of the 33 year old's week - and he can now look forward to a three-day stay in the Emirates Palace as reward for his accomplishment.

"Just very rusty," was Casey's assessment of his performance at the start of the desert swing.

"I played very nicely on the weekend, the rest of it was just average. Didn't really do anything brilliantly - maybe it wasn't disastrous - it was just a bit sort of flat.

"I'm definitely going to use that prize, whether it's for it Grand Prix or Volvo Ocean Race, whatever it might be, it's going to be a good prize."

The aim for the ten-time European Tour winner this week is to get an early trophy under his belt in 2011, especially after failing to land a top prize in 2010.

And Casey felt his game was coming together after Wednesday's pro-am at The Royal Golf Club's Colin Montgomerie-designed course.

"I played nicely," he added. "Tee to green I was okay and I think the golf course, pretty good tee to green.

"It's clearly interesting once you arrive on the greens. but with the green speeds, there's no reason why you can't hole putts and make birdies out there."

Another player looking to kick on in their second week back after a winter break is Casey's compatriot Ian Poulter.

The Ryder Cup star missed the cut last week, having begun the year with a round of 75.

"Obviously not how I wanted to start 2011 in Europe," said the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play champion.

"I didn't drive it great on Thursday - that put me in a few awkward positions. I think I missed seven fairways and I couldn't reach seven of the greens from the fairways I missed, so consequently I was out of position and it was difficult to make pars.

"I went to the range and played lovely, and then I played Saadiyat for Gary Player's day on Monday and made 12 birdies. That's the fun of the game we play."


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-20
T2JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-19
T2HANSON, PeterSWE18-19
4GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-18
5KARLSSON, RobertSWE18-17
T6NOH, Seung-yulKOR18-16
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