Birthday boy Casey hopeful 40th will be good Open omen

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Paul Casey is hopeful turning 40 during The Open will be a good omen for his prospects of winning his first major, after posting a 66 to sit one stroke off the lead on day one. 

Casey produced a fine performance on his final day as a thirty-something at Royal Birkdale, his only blemish coming at the 11th as he posted five gains to end the first 18 holes in striking distance of the leading triumvirate of Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar.

He will attempt to build on that round on his birthday on Friday but history is not on his side, the Englishman having missed the cut on two of his last five appearances at The Open - finishing tied for 54th, 47th, and 74th in the other three editions.

His best showing came in 2010 when he came home tied third as Louis Oosthuizen prevailed at St Andrews.

But the last seven majors have been won by players tasting success at one of golf's quartet of showpieces for the first time, Casey is optimistic fortune may provide him with two reasons to celebrate this weekend.

"I've always loved this week because my birthday has been on or around it. I love going to work on my birthday. I genuinely do," Casey told reporters on Thursday.

"It's just cool. What can I say, walking down 18 is a great experience. And apparently life begins at 40, so maybe - maybe it's a good omen for me this week.

"The Open has never been the one I've seem to have fared the best at. I seem to have struggled at apart from St Andrews when Louis won.

"My results haven't been good. But I feel really good about this week. Don't know why. Maybe I'm more in love with links golf than I was before.

"Certainly this course helps. I really like this course. Not putting that much pressure on myself, but very much wanting to win it. The odds are in my favour - seven first-time winners."