The first two tournaments of the new season have been great, but don’t you dare forget about Paul Casey in 2017-18. He closed the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season with top-ten finishes in six of his last ten starts. He still doesn’t get the shine that many of the other stars on TOUR do with similar results, and that’s an impression he’s working diligently to change.
Sure, he’s 40, but while Casey isn’t anybody’s spring chicken anymore, he more than makes up for that in a balanced game. He spent 2017 hitting green after green – ranked third on TOUR in greens-in-regulation percentage – and draining a bunch of the ensuing birdie putts, coming in 19th in birdie average and fifth in adjusted scoring.
Casey’s 2017-18 campaign got off to a bit of a rocky start, admittedly. Opening the CIMB Classic with a sky-high 77 would have sent a lot of lesser players into a tailspin they wouldn’t get out of all week, but how did he respond? By shooting 63 on Friday, and going -19 for his final three rounds. Consider Perez’s winning score of -24, and then realize that, had Casey even shot level par on Thursday, he would have been in a playoff with a real chance at his first TOUR win since 2009, and his first worldwide since 2014.
If that’s the kind of thing he can do with a bad start, imagine what he can do with the momentum that built. I love Casey’s chances at a big finish this week in Korea.