Phil Mickelson sees off Brandon Grace to win dramatic Scottish Open

American ends his  20-year wait for a win in Europe after coming out on top in play-off

Castle Stuart

Phil Mickelson overcame the variables of golf that are an intrinsic part of playing on hard and fast-running links courses to win the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart on Sunday.

After three days of balmy sunshine on the southern bank of the Moray Firth a cold wind, gusting at up to  30mph, resulted in golf balls flying all over the place and others bouncing even further off line.

And, given that most of Scotland has enjoyed a mini heatwave for the past three weeks, there is nothing to suggest that the same elements will not prove just as influential when the Open Championship gets under way further south at Muirfield on Thursday.

Furthermore, if some of the crazy-looking scorecards handed over last night are repeated next weekend, punters looking to find the man who will lift the Claret Jug might do better to use a pin rather than any form lines to pick their selections.

There was a very mixed bunch of candidates looking to lift the Scottish Open’s £500,000 winner’s cheque at the start of the fourth round.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson led by two shots, having shown no form of any note since undergoing serious knee surgery two years ago. Chasing him was America’s four-time  major-winner Phil Mickelson who, searching for his first victory in Europe in 20 years, had looked ominous ahead of the Open after carding a 66 on Saturday.

But also in the hunt were the Danish Challenge Tour graduate J B Hansen, who was making a complete mockery of his record of missing 14 out of 17 cuts in this, his rookie main tour season, and the Yorkshireman John Parry, who needed to win the European Tour Q-School last year to get his card.

The course proved to be the great leveller. Mickelson’s opening drive was only marginally off line but, after finding rough, he started his fourth round with a double bogey while Parry dropped a shot too. However, it was the 22-year-old Hansen who raised most eyebrows as bad bounces at the second took his first ball into water and his second into a bush on his way to a quadruple bogey.

Although Mickelson hit back with a run of three straight birdies, Hansen ran up seven birdies in his next eight holes with a red-hot putter to lead outright briefly. In the background Stenson, Parry and South Africa’s Brandon Grace played steady golf to stay in contention.

Such was the mixture of bad luck, bad play and brilliance that the six players in the last three groups out on the course managed 29 birdies and 14 bogeys between them while moving the leader’s score – from  16 under par overnight – by just one shot to 17 under.

The unpredictable nature of the conditions ruled to the last. Needing only to sink a five-foot par putt to win, Mickelson missed and was forced into a play-off with Grace, who also finished on 17 under.

 But playing the par-five 18th again after Grace had encountered trouble in the rough, Mickelson produced  one of his trademark chips to a foot from the flag to secure a birdie and become the first American-born player to win the Scottish Open since Tom Lehman in 1996.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism