Fired-up Mickelson in group chasing leader John Parry in Scottish Open

AFP, CASTLE STUART, Scotland

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - Page 18

Four-time Major winning Phil Mickelson warmed up for a hopeful double Scotland victory celebration with a sizzling six-under-par 66 on the opening day of the Scottish Open on Thursday.

Mickelson started with a bogey, but then eagled the third hole of his round, along with adding six birdies and one bogey. It left the world No. 8, who is contesting the Scottish Open for a ninth occasion ahead of next week’s British Open at Muirfield, sharing third place and just two shots behind England’s John Parry, who enjoys the lead after signing for an eight-under-par 64.

England’s Simon Khan is in second place with a 65, while Mickelson shares third spot with six others, on a day when there was 33 eagles and 648 birdies.

Mickelson is looking to win for only a second time in Europe after capturing a secondary Challenge Tour event 20 years ago in France.

Defending champion Jeev Milka Singh put aside a nagging right index finger injury to shoot a five-under-par 67.

Singh expressed his disappointment in having to miss the premiere in India of the movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on the life of his father and legendary athlete, Milka Singh.

“It is a very emotional thing for the family, because the movie is made about a man who is still living and it’s an inspirational movie, and I wanted to be there for my father,” Singh said.

“I’ve seen the movie three times and I think it’s going to be one of the best movies of the year. I cried three times, so I can say it’s a good movie,” he added.

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC

AFP, SILVIS, Illinois

Colombia’s Camilo Villegas deployed a “chill” attitude and a hot putter to seize a share of the first-round lead on Thursday at the John Deere Classic alongside defending champion Zach Johnson.

Johnson and Villegas were one stroke in front of Matt Bettencourt, Daniel Summerhays and Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge, who all carded 65.

Colonial winner Boo Weekley led a group of seven players on five-under.

Steve Stricker, who had his three-year winning streak in the tournament snapped by Johnson last year, was in a group of 13 players on 67.