Casey's class in the clinch shuts out Jimenez to take title
Monday 22 January 2007
Paul Casey felt he had produced the best closing round of his career yesterday when he hit a seven-under-par 65 to win on a thrilling final day at the Abu Dhabi Championship here.
The 29-year-old had started this morning three shots behind the overnight leader, Padraig Harrington, but played a near faultless round, including eight birdies, to storm to the top of the leaderboard with a 17-under-par total of 271.
Miguel Angel Jimenez was close to forcing a play-off, but the Spaniard had a bogey on the 17th and could only make par on the last hole to finish a shot behind in second and hand a relieved Casey the trophy.
"As far as professional rounds go it was probably my finest final round, " said Casey. "I was pushed all the way. Every birdie I made I felt Miguel and Padraig were right behind me making birdies as well. It is nice when you are pushed I always think it is easier to chase, but it was by far my best final round of golf."
Harrington, the European Tour Order of Merit winner, failed to build on his confident display on Saturday and in the end offered little threat.
In California, Justin Rose blew his chances of his first US Tour victory. He was tied for the lead with five holes to go at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic but fell away at the end of his round.
Rose leapt into a three-stroke advantage after the first two holes but struggled like most of the field in difficult windy conditions.
After a double bogey on the fifth and bogeys at the seventh and eighth, Rose was caught by Jeff Quinney, and American John Rollins was soon alongside him.
At midnight UK time last night, Charley Hoffman and Rollins went into a play-off after both finished regulation at 17-under 343.
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