Paul Casey had plenty to smile about after a 3-under 67 Thursday at Oak Hill. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Paul Casey is starting to feel like his old self again -- and play like it, too.
Once befallen by injuries, the latest being a broken collarbone from a snowboarding accident at the end of 2011, Casey is on the climb back.
He won earlier this year in Ireland and on Thursday opened with a 3-under 67 at Oak Hill that leaves him near the top of the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.
"Been a while since my name's been up there," Casey said after five birdies and just two bogeys. "Yeah, it felt very good."
Casey was once very good, reaching as high as No. 3 in the world in 2009.
Then came the crash on the slopes, followed by a cortisone shot in his right big toe during last year's Open Championship. He also has a torn labrum and his shoulder still sometimes pops out of place when he's sleeping.
If that weren't enough, he's still getting over a cold he suffered from during last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Still, Casey is just happy to be back and playing well.
"You don't realize how much you missing something until it's gone and you're sitting on the sofa watching the big events," he said. "Without sounding sort of cocky, yeah, I guess I feel like I belong out here. I'm very appreciative being back on the big stage."