Paul Casey produces cool last-day display to win Omega Dubai Desert Classic
On a tough scoring day on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club, 43-year-old Casey was coolness personified from start to finish as he closed with a 70 for a 17-under-par 271 total in the second event of the new European season.
South African Brandon Stone, the 2018 Scottish Open champion, finished as his closest challenger in the ‘Major in the Middle East’ after a last-day 72, with MacIntyre, who was bidding for a second success in six starts after a breakthrough win in the Cyprus Showdown in November, a shot further back in third after his 74.
The win could move Casey to 14th in the world while it was also a big boost in his bid to make a fifth Ryder Cup appearance at Whistling Straits in September.
MacIntyre, who started the day one behind Casey, quickly moved into a share of the lead after setting up a birdie-3 from just over 10 feet at the second with a perfectly-executed flop shot from the rough.
Casey responded with a two-putt birdie at the long third, where he found the heart of the green with a majestic long iron, before producing an outrageous chip-in at the par-3 fourth.
That must have been a bodyblow to MacIntyre, but, after holing two testing par putts in a row, he was back within touching distance after Casey dropped his first shot of the day at the par-4 sixth following a rare fairway miss.
With Stone and 2017 winner Sergio Garcia having hit reverse early their rounds, it looked as though Casey and MacIntyre were set for an exciting ding-done battle before the Scot hit a horrible run of holes.
Just off the green on the right of the short seventh, he left his chip a bit short and was unable to save par before being left in disbelief as a short par putt hit the hole and stayed out at the par-4 eighth.
That was a big disappointment for him due to Casey already having dropped a shot there and, from having a chance to be one behind again, MacIntyre quickly found the gap had increased to three.
The Scot found water with his second shot at the ninth before making a gutsy bogey-5 by rolling in an 18-footer from the edge of the putting surface.
That would have been a big boost as he walked to the tenth tee, but, at the same time, Casey had moved into a strong position heading into the back nine in the event’s 32nd edition.
That position became even stronger when MacIntyre three-putted from around four feet at the par-5 10th to make it four dropped shots in a row, with Casey rubbing oil into his wounds as he then rolled in a 20-footer for a 2 at the 11th to go five clear.
A 20-foot par putt at the 15th from the leader stopped things from turning interesting again, and it was job done for Casey as he then made a great up and down to save par at the next hole.
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