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Paul Casey enjoying golf again after Dubai Desert Classic success

Paul Casey completed a desert hat-trick with a closing two-under par 70 to finish 17 under at Emirates Golf Club.

A rejuvenated Paul Casey says he has re-discovered his love for golf after claiming a landmark 15th European Tour title with a four-shot victory at the 2021 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Winner in Abu Dhabi in 2007 and 2009, Casey completed a desert hat-trick with a closing two-under par 70 to finish 17 under at Emirates Golf Club, four ahead of South Africa's Brandon Stone, with Scotland's Robert MacIntyre at 12 under.

Ryder Cup hopeful MacIntyre, who was bidding for a second success in six starts after a breakthrough win in the Cyprus Showdown in November, started the day one behind Casey and was well in contention before carding four consecutive bogeys around the turn on his way to a two-over 74.

Fresh from victory in California, Casey says he is now enjoying the game once more and is delighted to be back playing in front of fans, even if they are socially-distanced, after experiencing a low point during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've not enjoyed a minute of it," he said. "It's been totally soul-less, with no emotion. It's just not been a fun time.

"We had some fans this week. They were amazing.

"I've realised how much I love doing what I do but in an environment with people watching. It could be heckling or cheering, that's part of what we do.

The Open Championship 2019 – Day Four – Royal Portrush Golf Club
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. Here I am rejuvenated, sponsors, new equipment and a couple of people standing around a golf course. I feel totally different."

Casey turned in level par 35 but that was enough for a three-shot advantage which he extended to five with five to play.

That gap was trimmed over the closing holes but the 43-year-old never looked in any danger as he cruised to a triumph that moves him back into the world's top 20.

"It was the trickiest conditions all week," he said. "I didn't look at the leaderboard until I came down the 18th so didn't know what was going on.

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open – Day Three – The Renaissance Club
Padraig Harrington was at the 18th to congratulate Paul Casey on his win in Dubai ({PA Images/Jane Barlow)

"I was just trying to keep my nose clean. 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. I'd love to be part of this team, in any capacity.

"I'm a long way back in points – my world ranking points in California last week don't count – which means I'm a bit behind so this is a big boost.

Scottish Championship – Day One – Fairmont St Andrews
Robert MacIntyre improved his Ryder Cup prospects after finishing third in Dubai (PA Images/Kenny Smith)

"I want to make the team, I don't like being a pick if I can help it. I'll accept it but I don't really want to if I can."

Casey, whose victory enables him to equal both Harrington and former captain Thomas Bjorn for European Tour wins, says MacIntyre would be a worthy addition to the Ryder Cup team.

"He's got very strong possibility of being in Paddy's Ryder Cup team," he said. "He was brilliant. He was great to play with, if anything he helped me.

"I'd feel very comfortable standing next to him on the first tee at Whistling Straits. And he's only going to get better and better."

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England's Paul Casey in action at the Masters on November 12, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan103518
United StatesUnited States98825
ChinaChina95721
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia77418
Great BritainGreat Britain45413
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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