Mickelson wins Scottish Open after playoff

Phil Mickelson birdied the first playoff hole to beat Branden Grace and win the Scottish Open Sunday at Inverness, ending his 20-year wait for a victory in Europe.

After three-putting the 72nd hole to miss out on a win in regulation, Mickelson produced a superb pitch from 45 yards that landed within a foot of the 18th pin, leaving Grace a 25-footer to match him.

Grace's putt rolled by the hole and the 43-year-old American was able to celebrate a 48th professional victory worldwide, with his wife and three children watching on.

"I almost let it slip away, but to come out on top feels terrific," Mickelson said.

Mickelson was using the tournament to hone his game ahead of next week's British Open at Muirfield, and he looks in great shape to challenge for a first claret jug and fifth major title.

He should tee off on Thursday as No. 5 in the world and $740,000 richer.

Mickelson and Grace shot 3-under 69s in the final round to finish on 17-under 271 and overtake overnight leader Henrik Stenson, who bogeyed three of his last six holes for a tie for third with unheralded Dane J.B. Hansen on 15 under.

Mickelson had to dig deep to earn his first win on European soil since a capturing a title in Paris on the European Challenge Tour in 1993.

When Mickelson drove into the rough on the first hole, topped his second shot and then three-putted, he dropped four shots behind Stenson, who started in a manner befitting his nickname "The Iceman" in the toughest conditions of the week.

- Associated Press

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