Mickelson ends 20-year drought in Europe
July 14, 2013 -- Updated 2254 GMT (0654 HKT)
Phil Mickelson hugs his three children after winning the Scottish Open in a playoff at Castle Stuart.
- Phil Mickelson wins the Scottish Open in a playoff over South African Branden Grace
- Mickelson wins his first individual event in Europe in 20 years
- Scandinavians JB Hansen and Henrik Stenson finish two shots behind Mickelson and Grace
(CNN) -- Phil Mickelson did it the hard way. But the bottom line was that he came away victorious from the Scottish Open to end a 20-year individual drought in Europe.
Mickelson beat South Africa's Branden Grace in a playoff on the links course at Castle Stuart in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday for his first win in Europe since claiming a Challenge Tour event in Paris in 1993.
It was the perfect preparation for Mickelson ahead of the British Open that starts Thursday at Muirfield in Scotland. It must have also eased the pain of finishing second again at the U.S. Open last month.
"This is really cool," Mickelson, in his ninth appearance at the Scottish Open, was quoted as saying by the European Tour's website. "It's important to me, and it's probably the biggest challenge of my career hitting the shots that are required here.
"To win here and to play well here, finally win on a links golf course, it really means a lot to me and it also builds my confidence heading into future Scottish and British Opens."
Read: Mickelson a runner-up at Merion
'Lefty' to enter golf's Hall of Fame
Rose bests Mickelson in U.S. Open
The highest ranked golfer in the field at No. 8, Mickelson blew a chance to win the title in regulation when he erred on the 18th hole.
Needing only a par five -- he didn't drop a shot at the 18th in the first three rounds -- Mickelson struck a bogey to complete his round at three-under 69 and was 17 under through four rounds, like Grace.
But in the playoff at the same hole he recovered, edging Grace by hitting a birdie.
"I was so mad at myself for mentally losing my focus that I came out on that 18th (in the playoff) pretty focused to make a four," said the American. "I started coming here around 2000 or so and spent a lot of years here enjoying my time in Scotland and enjoying this competition.
"And to finally win, that feels great."
Mickelson and Grace were tied for second behind Sweden's Henrik Stenson heading into the final round.
Stenson's two-shot lead evaporated when he fired a one-over 73 and he finished tied for second with Denmark's JB Hansen.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.