Paul Casey launched 2007 with a renewed determination to capture The European Tour Order of Merit crown which eluded him so narrowly in 2006. And on the evidence of an eighth Tour victory – and a hard fought one at that – in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Casey’s near miss has whetted his appetite to go one better this season.
For much of a tense day in the Gulf sunshine, Casey was locked in combat with his main rival for the Harry Vardon Trophy last year, Padraig Harrington. But while the Irishman who claimed the title as European Number One at Valderrama slipped up over the back nine, Casey ventured forward with an intensity and focus which burned off all opposition.
The Englishman, who was voted European Tour Golfer of the Year for his 2006 exploits, claimed his eighth European Tour title with a closing round of 65 for a 17 under par total of 271, and even a three-putt at the 18th for the second day in a row was not enough to halt the Casey juggernaut in full flight. Casey finished one shot ahead of Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez and Swede Peter Hanson with Harrington in a share of fifth behind defending champion Chris DiMarco after the last hole bogey.
Courtesy of The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship / Getty Images