Scottish Open: Phil Mickelson beats Branden Grace in play-off after late drama
Phil Mickelson regrouped from a dramatic final-hole blunder to win the Scottish Open after a play-off at Castle Stuart.
Last Updated: 14/07/13 10:06pm
The four-time major champion looked to have the tournament sewn up in regulation play, but contrived to three-putt from 15 feet at the 72nd hole to hand South African Branden Grace a reprieve.
The two the replayed the par-five 18th hole and, this time adopting a more aggressive strategy, Mickelson produced a quite sublime pitch shot from just off the green to secure a birdie that Grace could not match.
The victory was the 43-year-old's first European Tour success on European soil.
Mickelson was forced to overcome an awful start as he made a double-bogey at the first hole and then, following a birdie at the second, a bogey at the third.
But he bounced back in superb style with three consecutive birdies at four, five and six before climbing to the top of the leaberboard on the back of a faultless back nine.
Further birdies at 11, 12 and 14 moved him to 18-under-par and, following a sublime up-and-down at the tough par-three 17th, he looked to have done enough after finding the fringe of the green in three at 18.
True Mickelson style
In typical Mickelson fashion, though, he would race a slippery downhill putt a good four feet past the hole and then miss the return, only to atone for his error in some style at the second time of asking.
Grace had produced a brilliant back-nine of his own, coming home in just 32 shots having failed to find any real momentum in the early stages of his round.
After opening with eight straight pars the South African bogeyed the ninth, but then birdied 10, 12, 14 and 16 to post 17-under in the clubhouse.
Overnight leader Henrik Stenson had looked like the man to beat for long periods having moved clear himself at 18-under at one stage, but the Swede fell apart over the closing stretch and dropped three shots in his final six holes to finish in a tie for third with JB Hansen.
The Dane looked to have blown his chances with a nine at the par-five second hole, but then strung together five straight birdies to fire himself back into contention.
The unheralded 22-year-old would go on to have a brief spell at the head of the field but, like Stenson, also surrendered three shots late on to fall back.
A final round of 68 saw Martin Laird claim a share of fifth alongside Gareth Maybin (71) and John Parry (72) at 14-under, while Nicolas Colsaerts (69) and Raphael Jacquelin were a further shot adrift.