‘Lefty’ – Castle Stuart outing beneficial

Phil Mickelson (30/1 – Open Outright) says his late decision to take part in last weekend’s Scottish Open has been justified as he is feeling in much better shape ahead of The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, which starts on Thursday.

The US star had, like several other Open hopefuls, initially decided not to play the Castle Stuart event and instead planned to rest ahead of this week’s major.

However, his poor performance in the Greenbrier Classic, where he missed the cut, a fortnight ago forced him into a rethink and he asked for a late entry into the Scottish Open.

That was granted and he ended up finishing just five shots off the eventual winner, Jeev Milkha Singh, as he finished on -12.

‘Lefty’ says his decision to take to the Highlands has proved to be a good one as it has conditioned his game perfectly as he lines up an assault on the Claret Jug.

He said: “I was originally planning to come here early and do some practice but ended up going to Castle Stuart and competing at the Scottish Open because I wasn’t really playing as well as I wanted to play in some tournaments.

“It was really a great week and Castle Stuart is a wonderful golf course. I felt like I got a lot of good work done.

“My game didn’t feel that far off but I just wasn’t holding my focus for all 18 holes. So I’ve just been trying to maintain my focus throughout each shot. That’s all I’ve been working on and it’s been getting better.”

Mickelson added: “I just wasn’t in a good, competitive frame of mind beforehand but playing the Scottish Open has really helped to get me in much better shape for this challenge.”

‘Lefty’ is behind the usual suspects in the outright betting, with fellow US star Tiger Woods the 10/1 favourite, ahead of the likes of Lee Westwood (14/1) Rory McIlroy (20/1) and Luke Donald (20/1).

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