After an injury blighted season to date, Paul Casey believes he is finally on the road to recovery and the Englishman is targeting a strong finish to 2012, starting at this week’s ISPS Handa Perth International.
The former World Number Three dislocated his shoulder in a snowboarding accident last Christmas and his form has understandably suffered as a result of the long rehabilitation process.
But after a morale boosting third place in last week’s Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea, Casey is in the keen to be at the sharp end of the leaderboard once again at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
“Being in the mix and competing again was fun again,” he said. “I was frustrated because I had a chance to win and I didn't win. But I've got to remember, I haven't been in that situation for a few months, so I made a couple of mistakes, but that is fine.
“I still think I can win a golf tournament or two before the season's out. But I'm very much looking at the bigger picture of where I'm going.
He added: ”In hindsight, maybe it's one of the best snowball crashes I've ever had because it allowed me to really de construct my golf game and go through and look at everything and see what I need to do and what I need to work on to be as good a player as I can be.
“This year has been very frustrating, and obviously it was my own fault; but I feel very good sitting here about the way things are going now and the way the future is looking.”
The former Ryder Cup player admits he has put too much pressure on himself this season while battling back from his injury nightmare, and while he was keen to avoid doing the same this week he did state that he felt those competitive juices were flowing again.
“I made a couple of mistakes last week but I feel it,” he said. “It's a little bit like riding a bike; I know how to win golf tournaments, and I feel pretty comfortable if I'm I've given a chance and I'm standing in the fairway and I have to make a birdie to beat whoever it is in the field, I feel that I have a pretty good chance of pulling it off. Not saying I'm going to do it.
“Obviously I want to come down here and perform well and give myself a chance to win a golf tournament Sunday afternoon. It's what I want to achieve this week. But I'm not going to hype it up in any way, because I've been putting so much pressure on myself, and that that's been detrimental.
“So the goal is go out there, make a ton of birdies and go out and enjoy myself and have a great time and enjoy the crowds on a great golf course.”
Casey, who had the unusual experience of having his ball stolen by a dog in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a fortnight ago, finished tied 18th the last time the European Tour visited Lake Karrinyup Country Club for the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic, finishing 17 shots behind Ernie Els’ European Tour record winning total of 29 under par.
He is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the course again, and is hoping that none of Perth’s resident kangaroos try to replicate the dog’s mischievous antics.
“They have taken a lot of them (the kangaroos) off the golf course. So there was nothing crazy today in the Pro‑Am,” he joked. “It was a nice chance to see the golf course. I thought it was playing brilliantly. It seems to be in great shape, so all credit to the greens staff
“I hit a couple of loose shots on last couple of holes. But a few birdies, a few bogeys, and was something like even par – I was scratching my head as to how Ernie had 29‑under around here. I’m a little bit unfamiliar with the golf course, especially those blind tee shots figuring out where to go and I got a couple wrong today, but my ball striking was pretty good.”
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