sport

Mickelson drives Rose at Open

Newly-crowned Scottish Open champion Justin Rose says Phil Mickelson is his inspiration ahead of this week's Open.

The 33-year-old Briton eased to glory at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday after a flawless closing 65 to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in his career.

It has been a stunning few weeks for the former US Open champion who recently won the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour and he will now try to duplicate Mickelson's efforts last year by getting his hands on a second major trophy in the Open at Hoylake.

Mickelson won at Castle Stuart 12 months ago before lifting the Claret Jug at Muirfield a week later and the American's decision to develop his skills on links courses is proving a source of inspiration.

With victory on Sunday pushing Rose up to a career-best third in the world rankings, he told Sky Sports: "I've changed my plans. I thought I would try and do a Phil this year and put it on my schedule. So far so good.

"I've won two in a row now so I've put the pressure on myself. There's no-one to blame but me. It's uncharted territory for me, I've never won two in a row before, never mind three.

"It's unbelievable to be back in the winners' circle so quickly but right now I am feeling great. I don't feel the two wins have taken a lot out of me. I feel that I've taken it in my stride.

"The Open is going to come around quickly so tonight is going to be calm and relaxed. I will enjoy the moment but my mind will definitely be back in the game as of tomorrow."

Asked if he had ever been in better form ahead of the Open, Rose added: "In 2010 you could argue I came in with as much form having won two events, but at the same time I was just beginning to play well then. Now I have been playing well for four or five years so I am a lot more comfortable with the expectations this time around.

"In the past I have been looking for something extra to get into contention but right now I am not chasing the next level, I am beginning to trust my game."

Mickelson gets the defence of his Open title under way at 2:05pm on Thursday in the company of 2012 winner Ernie Els and current Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Rose goes out two groups later with world number one Adam Scott and former US PGA champion Jason Dufner.