- Associated Press - Sunday, July 14, 2013

INVERNESS, Scotland — Phil Mickelson doffed his cap to an adoring and applauding crowd in the grandstands overlooking the 18th green at the Scottish Open, and walked to the side of the putting surface to hug his wife and three children.

It was a similar scene 20 minutes later — this time with Mickelson having seized his second chance to secure a first victory in Europe in 20 years.

Mickelson beat Branden Grace in a playoff Sunday after putting himself, his family and his growing legion of Scottish fans through a tense finale on a wild final day on the Castle Stuart links.

“Nobody likes a movie that is predictable,” said Mickelson, who appears to be as popular in the Highlands as he is back in California. “You always want to have a little bit of suspense.”

After overcoming a terrible start to his last round and wiping out a five-shot deficit to overnight leader Henrik Stenson, Mickelson only needed two putts for par on the 72nd hole to complete the perfect preparation for next week’s British Open at Muirfield.

From the fringe, 15 feet out, his putt raced past the hole and his return effort from 5 feet clipped the edge of the cup and stayed out. That meant a new duel with Grace, who shot a 69 like Mickelson in the final round to finish at 17-under 271.

Before heading back up the par-5 18th, Lefty embraced his family, who had been waiting nearby hoping to celebrate with him.

With Grace landing his third shot in the playoff 25 feet away, Mickelson seized his chance by producing a pitch from 45 yards with a 64-degree wedge that spanned back to within a foot of the pin.

After days of links-style bump and runs, it was the kind of chip shot he produces regularly on the PGA Tour that sealed the win.

After Mickelson tapped in, his South African opponent’s putt slid by and the celebrations could really begin for the Mickelson clan.

“I almost let it slip away, but to come out on top feels terrific,” said Mickelson, who will tee off at Muirfield next week as No. 5 in the world and $740,000 richer.

This was his 48th professional victory worldwide, four of which have come in the majors. However, he has never raised the claret jug.

Teen-ager Spieth wins in playoff

SILVIS, Ill. —  Nineteen-year-old Jordan Spieth outlasted David Hearn and Zach Johnson on the fifth hole of a playoff to win the John Deere Classic on Sunday, becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years.

Spieth hit a two-foot par putt to earn a spot in next week’s British Open. He is also the first teenager to win since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.

Spieth forced his way into the playoff by holing out of the bunker from 44 feet on the final hole of regulation.

Spieth, Hearn and Johnson made par on the first four playoff holes, but Spieth made another par while Johnson and Hearn scored bogeys on the fifth.

Perry wins U.S. Senior Open

OMAHA, Neb. — Kenny Perry is getting the hang of these majors. He only wishes it had happened sooner.

Perry completed a masterful performance with a 7-under 63 on Sunday that gave him a five-shot win over Fred Funk in the U.S. Senior Open.

The 52-year-old Kentuckian won his second straight senior major with a flurry. His 64-63 finish and the 10-shot deficit he overcame after 36 holes set tournament records. His 13-under total of 267 matched the lowest four-round score.

“It all came together. Why, after all these years?” Perry said.

“Here I am, (almost) 53 years old, and it finally came together for me.”

On the regular tour, Perry won 14 times but was best known for collapses in the 2009 Masters and 1996 PGA Championship. Those memories haunted him again in May when he squandered a three-shot lead with six holes to play in the Senior PGA Championship and lost by two to Kohki Idoki.

Just as he did two weeks ago in the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel, Pa., where he won by two shots over Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf, Perry came from well behind to win in the hills and heat at the par-70 Omaha Country Club.

“This is by far the biggest tournament I ever won,” Perry said.

“I lost the playoff at the Master’s and the PGA playoff. I didn’t get the job done. Now to have a USGA title, it’s an Open, it’s our Open, it’s what the players play for.

“To finally get it, even though it’s a Senior Open, I still regard it as a very high honor.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Click to Read More

Click to Hide