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Paul Casey has been forced to pull out of his third consecutive group game at the WGC-Match Play on Friday. Having already conceded his first two games, against Corey Conners on Wednesday and Alex Noren on Thursday, back spasms have forced the Englishman to pull out of the final group game with Louis Oosthuizen on Friday.
Casey withdrew before the start of last week’s Valspar Championship with back spasms, possibly caused by the continuous delays at the badly weather-affected Players Championship, where the 44-year-old finished third, two shots behind Cameron Smith.
He teed it up in his opening group game with Conners, but after two holes he was forced to concede with back spasms again to blame. In an Instagram post after day one, Casey wrote: “Frustrating I had to concede today's match shortly after it began. Back pain made it impossible to walk the course or swing a club. I couldn't even get the tee in the ground on the 2nd tee. I've been receiving treatment all day today and I'm hoping it's okay to go tomorrow. Thanks for all the messages. Fingers crossed.”
The former World Match Play Championship winner gave himself right up until tee time to make the game with Noren on Thursday, but while the Swede teed off, he was ultimately left to play a practice round alone as Casey pulled out. And on Thursday evening Casey confirmed he wouldn’t be playing his final group game, a dead rubber with Oosthuizen, as both players are already out of the tournament.
The WGC-Match Play is a 64-player event held at Austin Country Club in Texas. The players are divided into 16 groups of four who face each other on a round-robin basis. With Conners beating Oosthuizen 2&1 on Thursday to add to the walkover against Casey and Noren having beaten the South African 1up in their opener, Oosthuizen and Casey are both already out, with just the winner advancing to the round of 16, where the tournament reverts to a knockout. Noren and Conners will therefore face off on Friday knowing the winner goes through and the loser will be knocked out.
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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