Cack-handed Paul Casey’s quest for career defining summer on track

He carded a second round 67 to set up the prospect of another strong Major Championship performance – and he’s not the only Englishman thriving.

It's probably not a good idea to tell someone you've completed a DIY project for them in a cack-handed fashion.

Golf, however, has a vocabulary all of its own.

Admitting to putting cack-handed is not to suggest that you possess the blundering incompetence of a butter fingers.

It's merely a different technique - and for Paul Casey a highly effective one.

After signing for a second round 3-under-par 67 that left him on 5-under 135 in the Open at Royal St George's the Englishman revealed the power of going left-below-right.

"I've practised that way for a long, long time," he admitted. "And then I putted poorly at the Masters so I changed to cack-handed in the final round.

"Peter Kostis, my coach, has always said if we were ever going to do anything different again, or start again, he would actually get me to putt with the left-hand below the right.

"So I felt confident doing it because I knew I wasn't going to get into trouble with my coach and my caddie. But I was so nervous that Sunday. I mean, genuinely nervous over a straight eight-footer.

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"What does it do different for me? I get a much better strike. The ball rolls better. Speed control isn't quite where it needs to be yet overall on the longer stuff, but I'm much, much better on short putts."

His long game was more of a struggle on Friday. He was initially wayward off the tee, but he hung tough, drew on the energy of the galleries and closed his front nine with a hat-trick of birdies.

"Very, very happy where I stand right now," he concluded, noting that the conditions are changing as the tournament hurtles into the weekend.

"The fairways are drying out a little bit which is nice. The wind is the big one. You can see that on holes like the first which yesterday was a driver and a flick and is now tougher.

"Certain holes start to show their teeth. It's amazing how even a quarter turn of the wind has an affect."

He'll be chasing from just outside the top 10 and six back of the leader Louis Oosthuizen going into the final 36 holes, but believes the variations in the wind offer hope.

"Tee times are going to have a big impact," he said.

Only last week he told the BBC: "The older I get, the better things seem to get. The Open, I'm obviously mega excited about next week. It seems to make it more exciting as an Englishman playing in England.

"Then it's the Olympics and the Ryder Cup. I've got a great opportunity here to have a summer which could define my career, if I capture lightening in a bottle."

Casey is far from the only Englishman enjoying his week in Kent.

Andy Sullivan is 6-under for the week and inside the top 10, Danny Willett is 4-under, with Matt Wallace, Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, Jack Senior and hole-in-one ace Jonathan 'Jigger' Thompson all on 2-under.

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Here's what Sullivan and Poulter had to say.

Andy Sullivan

"I was really disciplined out there today. Didn't really chase too many flags down. Just put it into areas where par was an easy score to make and you might have a sneaky chance at birdie.

"Royal St George's is going to throw some challenges at everybody on the weekend. It's all about how I'm going to handle that challenge when it comes to me.

"I really love this event. It's really special. The fans add that extra buzz. And with the fantastic weather, there's such a buzz out there. When you're holing putts and you get the roars and the screams, it's brilliant. You can't describe it. It's an amazing feeling."

Ian Poulter

"It was interesting. I woke this morning and someone on social media said I was first in fairways hit. That highlighted how frustrated I was because from that position I was not able to get the job done.

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"I came out today with a good mindset to just keep being aggressive, do what I'm doing, and try to roll a few putts in. It was great to hear again 32,000 people in the afternoon applauding good shots, good putts. I got on to a nice little roll around the front nine, five birdies.

"I had much more control of my ball. I was flighting shots into the greens, giving myself opportunities, and yesterday I was just off. It wasn't quite 100%. You know, this golf course, when you're two or three yards out on your landing positions, you're going to get yourself in some tricky spots.

"I'm in good shape. Playing good, feel good. I love links golf and it's The Open, so weekend of good work to come."

English Open numbers

Paul Casey: in eight of his 12 third rounds at the Open he's failed to break 72. He has two sub-70 scores.

Andy Sullivan: He's played three weekends at the Open, carding 68-71-69 in round three.

Ian Poulter: He's never gone sub-70 on a Saturday in the Open.

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READ MORE: Quick learner Collin Morikawa cards second round 64 to set clubhouse target at the Open

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