The Open 2015: Paul Casey hoping return to St Andrews coincides with a return to form

Five years ago Casey was in the final grouping

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The Independent Online

Not here to make up the numbers, says Paul Casey, aiming for another final group outing on Sunday at St Andrews, only this time with a different end.

Casey has largely disappeared from our screens since his duel with Louis Oosthuizen for the 2010 crown, in part as a result of a snowboarding accident in 2012 that deepened his decline.

Ask any of his contemporaries who they thought had the game to prosper a decade ago and Casey was the one. Had he not pulled his tee shot on the 12th for a triple bogey 7 he might have leant on  Oosthuizen in a more meaningful way in 2010 and, maybe, fulfilled the prophesy of friends.

Now married a second time to television presenter Pollyanna Woodward, and father to a son, Lex, Casey is playing the kind of golf that saw him rise to a career-high ranking of world no.3 in 2008, and chasing the future he should have had years ago with an enthusiasm and desire that might yet sting his rivals.   

He turns 38 next week but you wouldn’t know it observing the lean frame and hungry look that has seen him rocket more than 50 spots up the rankings ladder this year to 24.

“At the beginning of the year this all seemed a long way out, especially being asked to have a press conference at an Open Championship. I would not have thought of that at the beginning of the year,” he said.

“It's very much back to sort of where I was '06, '09, '10, those kinds of years where I'm very much hungry. I also feel kind of slightly unfulfilled that I've had a couple of chances. It’s like, let's get this going, let's get in the majors, let's get in the World Golf events. I'm pretty focused this week. I'm not here just to make up the numbers. ”

Casey goes out at 2.56pm on Thursday in the company of Jim Furyk and Branden Grace, the last of the Hollywood threeballs in the slot immediately after Justin Rose, Sir Nick Faldo and Rickie Fowler.

Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth continues his grand slam pursuit at 9.33am alongside Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.  Tiger Woods tees off 22 minutes later with Jason Day and Oosthuizen.