Merion is set to provide a “brutal” test of golf in the 113th US Open championship, but Paul Casey was relishing simply being there at all.
Paul was ranked third in the world in 2009 but is currently 168th after struggling with form and fitness, most notably in 2012 after breaking his collarbone while snowboarding. The former Ryder Cup star also missed last year’s US Open with a shoulder injury, but came through qualifying at Walton Heath last month thanks to rounds of 74 and 64.
“I’m very much enjoying this week,” Casey told Press Association Sport. “It’s the first time I’ve had to qualify so I am taking the approach that I am just enjoying playing in another US Open and I worked very hard to get here.”
He added: “I’m hitting it very nicely; the putting when it’s good it’s 64 in the afternoon at Walton Heath and when it’s not, it’s the 74 in the morning. That’s a beautiful example right there.
“If I putt well I know I can shoot a good number round here, if not then we’ll enjoy the week. The game is right there, but until you tee off you really just don’t have a clue.
“It’s a brutal golf course but I can see why they wanted to bring it here (Merion last staged the US Open in 1981). It really is a great test of golf. I do love it.
“You don’t even have to play this at 7,000 yards to make it difficult. (Ian) Poulter hit a driver yesterday on the third (a 256-yard par three) and I ripped a three wood.
“The defence is still on the greens, it doesn’t matter how narrow you make the fairways, somebody will always find them. The defence is on the greens, where they put the pin positions and how firm they get it; the only reason the scores will be low is that we’ve had so much rain leading up to it.”
ARDMORE, PA – JUNE 11: Paul Casey of England looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on June 11, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)