Wednesday, July 06, 2016

 Mickelson is after that double again - Castle 

  Stuart and Open championship victories

Phil Mickelson made golfing history in 2013 when he won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links and then went on to win the Open Championship - and now he is looking to do it again.
Scotland's National Open returns to Castle Stuart this week for the first time since Mickelson won the title at the 11th time of asking and then lifted the Claret Jug at Muirfield just seven days later.
The American will be making his 14th trip to the Scottish Open in preparation for the year's third Major Championship and the event - and particularly Castle Stuart - holds dear memories for him.
"The two years prior, I could see how great a golf course it was, what a wonderful design and how fun it was to play.
"2013 was a very special two-week stretch for me: starting with my first championship on links golf here at the Scottish Open and then following it up the next week at Muirfield with my Open Championship."
Mickelson and wife Amy renewed their wedding vows in Inverness that year to create a beautiful off the course memory and while the 46 year old is grateful to be able to relive that moment, he also thinks the Highlands is good for business ahead of the Open.
"I think it's got a great mixture of holes. Birdie holes, tough pars, great shot-making skills and it doesn't beat you up like we'll get beat up next week," he said. "Which is why I love coming here so much.
"It gives you a chance to get accustomed to the wind, to the air, the fescue grass, the challenge of links golf, playing the ball on the ground, getting it out of the air.
"But it doesn't beat you up and punish you the way the Open Championship does. So you arrive at the Open Championship fresh and ready to play, as opposed to worn out already.
"I feel that after six months now of really working hard on my swing, I feel like the swing is where I want it and I can take that final step of trying to score and shoot a number and hit intricate shots and get those little details of flying a ball a couple yards different shorter or longer than I want to and things like that. I think that that's starting to come.
"But it's hard to say when it's going to all click. I hope it clicks this week. I don't feel like it's far off but I've been saying that for a while. I feel confident with my game but I also need to start getting the results."
Fellow American Patrick Reed is playing his first Scottish Open and the 25 year old is also excited by the challenge posed by links golf.
"It was always a dream of mine to play on both tours," he said. "Playing in the Ryder Cup and playing over here in the Match Play.
"When I had the opportunity late to get into the event, there's no way I was going to pass it up. I wanted to come over and not only play for the fans I have over here but also just play the golf courses.
"I really enjoy links-style. I think it's awesome. It's just another week that I can come over and play some more good golf."



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