Phil Mickelson won for the first time in Europe since 1993. Kenny Smith/PA Wire
playoff drama

Phil Mickelson in the mood for Claret Jug after gutsy Scottish Open win

The American stormed to the title at Castle Stuart after a nerve-jangling playoff against Branden Grace.

PHIL MICKELSON SURVIVED a nerve-wringing playoff against South Africa’s Branden Grace to win the Scottish Open. The American was on course for a regulation victory before he bogeyed the 18th to give Grace hope.

The pair had to replay the 18th but Mickelson pulled out a superb bunker shot to set up a tournament winning birdie tap-in. It will not make up for his final day heartache at the US Open, when he lost out to Justin Rose, but will see him go into next week’s Open Championship as one of the top picks to win the Major.

Lefty had a disastrous start to his final round as he double bogeyed the first hole, birdied the next then bogeyed the third. He composed himself to reel off three birdies in a row but did not make his title charge until the back nine.

With JB Hansen [71] and Henrik Stenson [73] struggling to get any decent scoring runs going, the American went on the offensive. He got a birdie two on the 11th hole and picked up another shot on the next hole. A par followed at 13 before Mickelson sank his seventh birdie on the 14th.

Grace, who nearly had an albatross hole-in-one in his opening round, could only par the opening eight holes before bogeying the ninth. Four birdies followed on an impressive back nine and he closed out with pars on 17 and 18 to put the pressure on Mickelson, who was competing in the final pairing with Stenson.

It looked like Mickelson would close out his round safely to put himself in great stead before next week’s Open Championship but his nerve briefly faltered. It was Lefty’s second playoff at the Scottish Open — he lost to Gregory Harvet in 2007.

Mickelson’s daughter fails to catch the trophy after he dropped it on the 18th green. (Kenny Smith/PA Wire.)

Best of the Irish was Belfast’s Gareth Maybin, who finished joint-fifth. He shot a closing round of 71 to finish on -14. Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley finished on -8 with Shane Lowry a shot back and Damien McGrane of Meath on -5.

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