LUSS, Scotland -- This time, Phil Mickelson got a do-over
after hitting a wayward tee shot at the 72nd hole.
The next one was even worse.
A faulty driver cost Lefty his first European Tour win, as
France's Gregory Havret rallied to win the Scottish Open on the
first playoff hole Sunday.
Not exactly the sort of finish Mickelson wanted heading to the
British Open, which begins Thursday at Carnoustie, about a two-hour
He's still trying to erase the memory of that U.S. Open meltdown
at Winged Foot 13 months ago, where a terrible drive on the 72nd
hole led to a double-bogey -- and left him one stroke behind winner
"I really struggled off the tee and the back nine was a fight
for me," said Mickelson, who bogeyed three of his last five holes
at Loch Lomond, including the 18th twice.
Havret qualified for his first major, clinching the win with an
up-and-down from a greenside bunker. He sank a 6-footer for par in
the playoff, then was doused with champagne by countryman Thomas
Now it's on to Carnoustie, where another Frenchman, Jean van de
Velde, improbably squandered a three-stroke lead on the final hole
of regulation at the 1999 British Open. He went on to lose to Paul
Lawrie in a playoff.
Havret almost won his place in the Open last Sunday at The K
Club, but he finished third in the European Open.
"I was disappointed but I knew I had another chance, especially
on a course like this that I love so much," he said.
With a one-stroke lead going to the final hole of regulation,
Mickelson drove into thick rough along the right side of the
fairway. He needed a chip shot and two putts for bogey, while
Havret got down in two from 15 feet to force the playoff, both
players at 14-under 270 as they headed back to the tee box at 18.
Mickelson's redo drive plopped into the shin-high reeds along
the water on the left side of the fairway, forcing him to hit an
awkward shot that skidded sideways back into the fairway. His third
shot wound up on the fringe at the back of the green, leading to
"I just tried to make a good swing and blocked it left,"
Mickelson said. "I hit a good shot out of the swamp, but I hit the
third shot way too hard."
Mickelson, who shot a 2-under 69 in the final round, also
bogeyed the 14th and 16th holes in regulation. He bounced back with
birdies at the 15th and 17th.
"Greg played very solid golf and I played very erratic golf,"
Mickelson said. "I made birdies and bogeys and he just played
steady with solid pars and ultimately that won out in the playoff
because he was just much more consistent."
Ernie Els (65) finished one shot back at 271, taking third with
a 40-foot birdie on the final hole. It was his fourth straight
birdie on the 18th.
Mickelson, whose only victory abroad was in the 1993 Perrier
Open in Paris, a second-tier event, began the day with a one-stroke
lead. He stayed in front until the 14th hole, when his bogey
combined with Havret's birdie left them tied for the lead.
Havret closed with a 68.
"When Greg plays solid like that," Mickelson said, "not only
does he deserve to win, but he makes himself very tough to beat."