Casey takes 3- stroke shots

The Asian Age - - Sport -

San Fran­cisco, Feb. 10: Eng­land’s Paul Casey fired six birdies in a five- un­der par 65 on Satur­day to pull away to a three- stroke lead over five- time ma­jor win­ner Phil Mick­el­son at the Peb­ble Beach Pro- Am.

Casey played at Spy­glass Hill, one of three cour­ses in use over the first three rounds, and af­ter a birdie and bo­gey on the front nine he birdied five holes com­ing in.

Hav­ing started the round in a four- way tie for the lead, his 67 gave him a 15un­der par to­tal of 200 and a three- shot lead over Mick­el­son, who carded a two- un­der par 70 at Peb­ble Beach for a 12- un­der to­tal of 203.

Mick­el­son, among the lead­ers start­ing the round, was even for the day through nine af­ter three bo­geys and three birdies.

Af­ter a sec­ond straight bo­gey at the 10th, he ral­lied with a birdie at the 13th, where he landed a wedge three feet from the pin, and an ea­gle at the par- five 14th — where he stuck his sec­ond shot within four feet.

“I ac­tu­ally thought it was a suc­cess­ful round,” said Mick­el­son, who said the some­times- heavy show­ers made the go­ing tough at times.

“It was dif­fi­cult out there, es­pe­cially around the turn there,” he said. “It was very dif­fi­cult but I was able to come back when it cleared up.

“I’ve got a good chance go­ing into to­mor­row,” added Mick­el­son, who will be play­ing in the fi­nal group on Sun­day for the sec­ond time in his last three starts.

Mick­el­son, who made his 500th ca­reer cut on Satur­day, could join Mark O’Meara as the only five­time win­ners of the event, Mick­el­son’s most re­cent tri­umph com­ing in 2012.

“I just have to play a good solid round,” Mick­el­son said. “Ob­vi­ously Paul is play­ing some great golf. He’s go­ing to be tough to catch.”

Casey, com­ing off a run­nerup fin­ish in the Sin­ga­pore Open in Jan­uary, said that per­for­mance at Sen­tosa Golf Club had en­er­gized him.

CASEY PLAY­ING BET­TER “The juices were go­ing. Be­cause of that I’m play­ing bet­ter,” said Casey, who was en­joy­ing the Pro- Am ex­pe­ri­ence, which can test the pa­tience of the pros — es­pe­cially with the kind of soak­ing weather that has fur­ther slowed things this week.

“It’s tricky on oc­ca­sions, but you have to em­brace it,” Casey said. “The bit you can’t con­trol, the weather, you’ve just got to cross your fin­gers and hope you’re at the right part of the golf course at the right time.

— AFP

Paul Casey in ac­tion on Satur­day.

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