PEBBLE BEACH, Ca. – Paul Casey admits he doesn’t function well in the cold. That may explain why he failed to convert a three-stroke lead after 54 holes of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
He also admits that one of his written goals this season is to win this week’s Genesis Open, a shot-maker’s course that would seem to fit his game. Given that he still finished solo second to Phil Mickelson on Monday’s abbreviated finish at Pebble Beach, that likely explains why he’ll travel south to Los Angeles with a boost of confidence.
Casey birdied the 18th hole on Monday to break a tie with Scott Stallings and finish at 16 under – three shots behind Mickelson but one ahead of Stallings, who finished his round on Sunday at 15 under. The consolation prize for Casey, who shot a 1-under 71 in the final round, is that he and amateur partner Don Colleran won the pro-am portion of the event.
For Casey, his week overall at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was a positive one, despite the inability to match Mickelson’s final-round 65.
“It’s been a treat this week,” said Casey, who had entered this week with two weeks of rest after a tie for second at the Singapore Open on the Japan Tour. “I got an up-front close look at Phil shooting a great round of golf and winning this golf event. I’m happy with the way I played. I’m very happy we won the team competition.
“It’s been a very good week.”
Casey was definitely at his best on the two other courses in the rotation, shooting a 64 at Monterey Peninsula in the second round and a 67 at Spyglass Hill in the third round. He had opened the week with a 69 at Pebble Beach, but that was in much nicer conditions that what he and the rest of the field faced on Sunday. Cold, wet weather that produced a hailstorm forcing a two-plus hour delay derailed his momentum.
“I played very well around here on Thursday in good conditions and only shot 3 under,” Casey said. “This golf course, it looks very gettable [but] it can expose you.”
He’s hoping Riviera treats him better this week. Four years ago, he was in a playoff with Dustin Johnson and James Hahn but was eliminated on the second playoff hole.
Now with consecutive runner-up finishes in his last two starts this year, he’s entering the Genesis Open with significant momentum.
“I’ve written down a goal of winning L.A. and I had an outside chance of winning this one – I had a very good chance of winning this one,” Casey said. “Still need to go and try and win L.A. and accomplish that goal.”