Casey rallies for Irish Open title
Kildare, Ireland (Sports Network) - Paul Casey poured in a long eagle putt on the final hole Sunday to seal a 3-stroke win at the Irish Open.
Casey closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 14-under-par 274 at Carton House Golf Club. The win was his 12th on the European Tour, and the four stroke comeback matched the largest comeback in event history.
"It's incredibly sweet. It's been a while and when that putt went in half of it was relief and half of it was satisfaction," said Casey, whose last win was in January, 2011. "What a grandstand finish! Winning an Irish Open is an absolute dream."
Robert Rock managed a 1-under 71 in tough conditions to finish alongside third-round leader Joost Luiten in second place at minus-11. Luiten struggled to a 2-over 74 in the final round to cost himself his second win in three starts.
Pablo Larrazabal stumbled to a 3-over 75 to slide into fourth place at 9-under 279.
Shane Lowry, who won this title as an amateur in 2009, closed with a 3-under 69 to end in a share of fifth at minus-8. He was joined there by Northern Ireland's Gareth Shaw (69) and three Spaniards -- Jose Maria Olazabal (72), Alvaro Quiros (72) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (71).
Luiten played the front nine in 1-over-par with eight pars and a bogey on the fifth. He was briefly caught in the lead by Olazabal, who birdied the first, fifth, ninth and 10th to reach 12-under.
Olazabal stumbled to a bogey on the 11th, then dropped another stroke with a 3-putt bogey on No. 12 to slide two back. He dropped two more strokes on his way to the clubhouse.
Casey, who was in the group ahead of Luiten, caught fire late on the front nine. He played his third on the par-5 eighth within two feet and knocked that in for his first birdie of the day.
The Englishman followed with a 5-footer for birdie on the ninth. Casey made the turn at 11-under, where he was one behind Luiten.
Casey joined Luiten in the lead with an 10-foot birdie effort on the 10th, then took the lead by himself with a 7-footer at No. 11 as a squall of rain soaked the course. Casey got up and down for birdie at the short par-4 13th to move to 14-under.
"I was feeling wet when it rained. It was a shaky start, I didn't hit the ball particularly close going out, but when the putts did start to go in, I got on a bit of a roll," Casey stated.
Luiten's tee shot on the par-3 12th missed the green and he had an awkward stance for his chip. He pitched within 15 feet, but 2-putted for bogey to slide three back at minus-11.
Casey, 35, nearly lost his lead though. He 3-putted from the back fringe on the par-5 15th to slip to 13-under. Casey failed to get up and down from short of the green on the 16th as his lead dipped to one.
Luiten 3-putted for bogey on the 16th to fall two back, then Casey sealed the deal at the last.
Casey poured in a 50-footer for eagle on the 18th to win by three over Rock, who birdied the final two holes, and Luiten, who birdied the last.
NOTES: Casey, who earned 333,330 euros for the win, had once climbed as high as third in the world golf rankings. He entered this event ranked 169th in the world, but will move back into the top 100 with the victory ... Last year's winner Jamie Donaldson posted an even-par 72 in the final round to end in a tie for 10th at 7-under-par 281 ... The European Tour heads to Paris next week for the Open de France, where Marcel Siem held off Francesco Molinari by a single stroke last year.
06/30 13:27:23 ET