Paul Casey stormed to a four-stroke victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, winning his 15th European Tour title at the iconic Emirates Golf Club.
The Englishman started the day one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre but increased his advantage to two strokes after birdies on the third and fourth holes. The 43-year-old finished the front nine in level par after bogeys on the sixth and eighth holes but three consecutive bogeys from the seventh hole ended MacIntyre’s title tilt.
Casey steadied the ship with gains at the 11th and 13th holes and a closing birdie saw him sign for a final round of 70 and a total of 17-under par, finishing four strokes ahead of South African Brandon Stone.
“I’m so over the moon,” said Casey. “Not just 15 [victories]. The fact it’s Dubai. It’s an iconic event on The European Tour. You guys all know that. One of the coolest trophies around.
“You know, and kind of the fact that last year, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, last year was just, you know, like a lot of people, rubbish. I didn’t enjoy last year. This year is still, obviously we’re still difficult times, isn’t it. But yeah, something very cool because it’s not been great. I’ve not enjoyed my golf — I didn’t enjoy my golf in 2020. I mean, I played well one week but that was about it. So this is, yeah, this is really cool.
MacIntyre signed for a 12-under par total, two strokes ahead of England’s Laurie Canter and Kalle Samooja of Finland. The win propels Casey inside the Top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since December 2019 as he joins former and current European Ryder Cup Captains Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington – who finished in a tie for sixth at nine under par alongside Sergio Garcia and Bernd Wiesberger – on 15 European Tour titles.
“It was tough,” Casey added. “Didn’t look at scoreboards all day. Got off to a great start. Really only hit one poor shot on the front nine and that was the 7-iron into the 8th I pulled into the bunker. But I walked to the 10th tee and said to Johnny, look, when you can say you’ve only hit one bad golf shot in nine holes, that’s pretty good. And then really only hit one more poor shot on the back nine and that was another 7-iron into the bank on 15.
“I didn’t look at the scoreboards until I got on to the 18th green and then I saw I had a three-shot margin there. It doesn’t really tell the full picture. It was a lot tougher out there. And, for the record, playing with Rob today, great player. He’s got a very strong possibility of being on Paddy’s Ryder Cup team come later this year. He was brilliant. So it doesn’t really paint the whole kind of picture.”
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