Improved putting boosts Casey

Casey

Paul Casey didn’t have to check the stats to know just where his first two rounds of the Masters Tournament got away from him.

“The thing that was really poor and letting me down the first two days was putting,” he said. “In fact, someone told me that I was last in putting stats of all the guys that made the cut. So I started to go through it. I think I’d already had about four or five three-putts.”

The number was five, two in a first-round 72 and three in a second-round 75.

Some extra work on the practice green paid off Saturday. Casey avoided the three-putt bug and nearly avoided trouble altogether. A bogey on the 18th spoiled an otherwise stellar round as Casey posted 3-under 69 and climbed into a tie for 11th at even par.

“I did a lot of practice last night and this morning,” Casey said of his improved putting. “I actually feel really good about the game.”

Casey caught fire at the end of Amen Corner, hitting it to eight feet for birdie on No. 12, lagging a 72-foot eagle putt to six feet on No. 13 and draining a 25-foot putt on the 14th to cap a three-hole birdie streak.

Six shots off the lead, Casey is in contention even if he won’t admit it.

“I’m flying under the radar because I generally think I’m just too far out of it,” he said.

 

Mickelson sinks: Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickel­son went the wrong way on moving day.

At No. 3, the shortest par-4 at Augusta National, he made double bogey after finding a fairway bunker off the tee and missing the green.

It didn’t get any better as Mickelson carded bogeys at Nos. 6, 8 and 9. He played the second nine in 1-under with a birdie at No. 15, but it still added up to 74.

Mickelson enters the final round tied for 21st.

 

Westwood Up: Lee Westwood climbed the leaderboard Saturday with 4-under 68.

The Englishman, who tied for second a year ago, made three birdies in a row at Nos. 4-6 to spark his day. He also made two bogeys and made the turn in 1-under 35, then played a flawless back nine with birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 17.

Westwood is 1-under for the tournament and five behind the co-leaders.

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