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Mickelson shoots 66, two back in Scottish Open

Phil Mickelson
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Apparently, Phil Mickelson left his struggles behind when he boarded his flight for Scotland.

A week after missing the cut for the third straight year at The Greenbrier Classic, Mickelson began the Scottish Open with a 6-under 66 Thursday, placing him two shots behind Englishman John Parry.

'It's a good start to the tournament,' he told after the round. 'I historically have played poorly on Thursday and have put myself so far behind that I've been just trying to make up ground.'

Mickelson's only victory on European soil came in the 1993 Tournoi Perrier de Paris on the European Challenge Tour.

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Beginning his day on the 10th hole, Mickelson opened his round with a three-putt bogey. He more than made up for it, though, with an eagle on the par-5 12th hole, adding six more birdies against just a single bogey across the balance of his opening round.

With relatively calm conditions Thursday at Castle Stuart Golf Links, Mickelson understood the need to capitalize on a favorable draw, admitting after the round to thinking about numbers even lower than the one he shot Thursday.

'With such perfect conditions, there was an opportunity in the middle of the round where I got it going to get something really low,' added Mickelson, who was 5 under after the first 12 holes of his opening round. 'I'll certainly take 66, but there was a chance with the conditions and the way I was playing to go really low.'

Mickelson was not the only player among the early wave to take advantage of a relatively benign morning in Inverness. Irishman Shane Lowry was one of several players that matched the four-time major winner with a 6-under 66, while a group of players at 5-under 67 included Thorbjorn Olesen, last week's French Open runner-up Richard Sterne, and defending Scottish Open champion Jeev Milkha Singh.

Englishman Simon Khan shot 7-under 65 in the afternoon to grab second place.