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Archive for Monday, September 18, 2006

Casey dominates Match Play event

Micheel routed,10 and 8, at tourney in England

September 18, 2006

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— A tournament that began with Tiger Woods going for his sixth straight victory ended with Paul Casey plowing through everyone in his path to capture the richest prize in golf.

Casey never trailed in his final 71 holes of a marathon week at Wentworth, winning the final five against Shaun Micheel for a 10-and-8 victory, the largest margin of the final match in the 43-year history of the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

No other golfer has made winning 1 million pounds (about $1.88 million) look so easy.

"It's just wonderful to put my name down in history, put my name on the roll of honor," said Casey, who became only the fifth player without a major to win this tournament.

So dominant was Casey that he played only 126 holes, another record for fewest holes over four 36-hole matches. Ian Woosnam and Padraig Harrington each played 128 in 2001.

A mistake that caused Micheel to curse his caddie on the 16th hole sent him tumbling too far behind, and Casey hit the ball too well off the tee and too close to the flag for Micheel to make up any ground.

"Better to be beaten by someone who has played so well," he said.

Casey was 1 up and hit his tee shot into the bunker on the 16th.

From the fairway, Micheel sent his 8-iron over the green. He had to take relief in a muddy, matted patch of grass. Trying to flop the ball up a steep slope, he sculled it over the green, some 70 feet away.

Casey three-putted from the front of the green for bogey. From nearly the same spot, Micheel lagged to 5 feet, but lipped out his bogey putt and lost the hole.

He tossed his wedge at the bag, then barked at caddie Tony Lingard, "Don't say another word to me the rest of the day."

Still rattled, Micheel pulled his tee shot on the par-5 17th, then clipped a tree branch on his next shot and still had a 3-iron into the green for his third, while Casey was already on in two. That gave Casey a 3-up lead.

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