Paul Casey storms into Dubai Desert Classic lead heading into final round

Tanya Simon
February 2, 2021

Paul Casey superbly closed out his 15th victory on the European Tour with a confident four-shot win over Brandon Stone at the 2021 OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic.

"I am not anxious about him for sure", added the Dubliner, who was at the 18th green to offer his congratulations, quickly shrugging off a poor putting performance on US Open-style greens. Here I am rejuvenated, sponsors, new equipment and a couple of people standing around a golf course.

The Dubliner finished on nine under par, eight shots behind Casey after shooting a final round of 70.

It could be heckling or cheering, that's part of what we do.England's Paul Casey is enjoying his golf once more (PA Images/Richard Sellers)"Last year was rubbish but I'm now enjoying my golf, I feel fine with where I'm at."I've worked incredibly hard over the last few months". He made a birdie on the par-5 third hole, and then chipped-in from a disgusting lie on the par-3 fourth to gain another shot. I always like to learn from the guys I play against and compete with and against.

Casey gained at the 11 and 13 holes and a closing birdie saw him sign for a final round of 70 and a total of 17 under par. I did what I needed to do."The victory boosts Casey's chances of being named in the team for September's Ryder Cup and captain Padraig Harrington was waiting at the finish to congratulate him on his victory but the Englishman says he wants to win his place in the team on merit.Casey, who has appeared in four Ryder Cups, said: "There's a long way to go".

No other player was within four shots of Casey, with Sergio Garcia (67) and Laurie Canter (68) on 10 under.

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This was Casey's fourth title across the tours since he crossed the invisible line of 40 in 2017, and to judge from the four-shot margin with which he crushed this field, more are likely to follow.

Meanwhile, State-side, Rory McIlroy is on 5 under par at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Harrington could only be pleased with the outcome, having said on the eve of the final round that Casey "should be a stalwart of the side".

'I'm extremely proud of the performance I put up this week, said Stone.

While he did not enjoy a "soulless" 2020 in the Covid-19 bubble, he's hoping he can play in front of fans at Whistling Straits and believes MacIntyre would be a great addition to the team.

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