Rickie Fowler triumphs to set up dream double
World number nine Rickie Fowler said he aims to follow in Phil Mickelson's footsteps after producing his second brilliant finish of the season to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane.
Mickelson was the last American to win the Scottish Open - tasting victory at Castle Stuart in 2013 - and went on to win the Open at Muirfield the following week.
American Fowler will get his shot at Open glory at St Andrews.
Fowler fell two shots off the lead when he bogeyed the 14th hole of the final round, but responded with birdies at the 15th, 16th and 18th to finish 12 under par and snatch victory from Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar.
That brought back memories of the 26-year-old's victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May, when he played the last six holes in six under par, taking a tournament-record 11 shots to finish birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie.
Fowler then defeated Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia in a play-off.
Kuchar had set the clubhouse target on 11 under par after a closing 68, finally ending the hopes of Scotland's Marc Warren who had finished 10 under par four hours earlier after a superb 64.
Fowler had dropped his second shot of the day after driving into a fairway bunker on the 14th, but holed from nine feet on the next, two-putted the par-five 16th and then hit a superb approach to two feet on the last.
That left France's Raphael Jacquelin needing to hole his second shot to the 18th to force a play-off and his approach span back to within inches of the hole, but Fowler was not to be denied.
"It's pretty special," Fowler said. "I played great coming in and it's been a great week.
"I will have a bit of time to let it sink in and get right back at it next week.
"This is a big win. I had a couple of missed cuts after winning the Players, which was disappointing, so it feels good to get back on form.
"I had to dig deep. I was a little bummed to drop a shot on 14 but knew I had some birdie holes coming in. I had played the last four holes well this week and luckily 14 didn't cost me."
Fowler, who finished in the top five in all four majors last year, added: "There are a few things we can tighten up for next week but I am looking forward to getting back to St Andrews, the Home of Golf, and getting into contention."
Ulsterman Graeme McDowell's closing 71 saw him tied for 31st on five under, a disappointing end after being in contention going into Saturday.