St Andrews: It is amazing what a holiday can do for you, a smiling Paul Casey said after moving up the British Open leaderboard to second place on Saturday and within touching distance of his first major title.
"That little break I took a holiday for the first time in ten years in the summer, which I should have done before, because it was great," he told a news conference after his 67 for a three-round total of 205 (11-under) left him four shots adrift of Louis Oosthuizen.
Casey said after the U.S. Open and the BMW Open in Munich in June he was not enjoying his golf, prompting him to take some time off before an Open warm-up event at the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am in Ireland earlier this month.
"I didn`t really have fun on the golf course. Then I turned up at JP, and I will admit I had no clue where the golf ball was going to go at JP, but I didn`t care because I was relaxed," the Englishman said.
"Bit of a tan, nice and chilled out, and, you know, just enjoyed myself."
"Now I feel fresh and feel ready to play good golf, feel ready to work, good attitude, and really looking forward to the rest of the year, which I wasn`t four or five weeks ago," Casey added.
The Ryder Cup player tore up the Old Course`s front nine on Saturday, going out in a five-under 31 on his way to the day`s joint-best round.
"Nothing is better than an Open championship at the home of golf. So I`m loving it. I`m loving the fact I`m playing absolutely great golf," the 32-year-old said.
"I desperately want to be a major champion, and I think I have the ability, and I think I`m working hard enough," the 10-time European tour winner added.
Winning will be a tall order given the lead Oosthuizen has carved out from himself, but Casey is not world number 10 for nothing and is ready to bring Saturday`s form to the world`s biggest stage.
"I would love to replicate that tomorrow. I`m not sure it would be enough with the way Louis is playing, but I was very happy with that," he said cheerfully.