GULLANE (Scotland) • A second American winner in three years at the Scottish Open, the third high-profile one in succession, and further evidence that Rickie Fowler should be among the favourites in the British Open this weekend.
All the aforementioned were provided over the links of Gullane on Sunday afternoon.
Fowler shot a final round of two-under-par 68 to prevail at 12-under 268. The American finished one shot clear of his Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
The latter came within inches of forcing a play-off with his approach shot from the middle of the 72nd fairway.
Jacquelin will surely accept the prize of an Open place.
Fowler's triumph, added to that at the Players Championship in May, supplies proof of his coming of age. How he will relish the coming days at St Andrews.
He birdied three of the closing four Gullane holes with a superb 109-yard wedge shot to within 18 inches at the last.
"This is pretty special," he said of his maiden win in Europe. "It feels good to be back on form. There are a few things we can tighten up before St Andrews but I am excited to get back to St Andrews.
"I'm looking to get into contention there."
It was just a fourth professional victory for the 26-year-old , who won the Players Championship - often tagged the fifth Major - earlier this year in similar style, and it sets him up perfectly for this week's Open.
Last year, he became just the third player after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to finish in the top five in all four Majors and many feel that he is on the cusp of winning his first Major.
Fowler was the second American in three years to capture the Scottish title after Phil Mickelson won at Castle Stuart in 2013 before claiming a first Open Championship at Muirfield.
"Phil has always been a role model to me and a huge help, and someone I love spending time with on and off the golf course," said Fowler. "I have learnt a lot from Phil as he is a great professional."
Victory will take Fowler to a career-high world No. 5 and renewed thoughts of challenging the game's top-two ranked players in Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
"I am very excited to win the Scottish Open," he said.
"Hopefully, it will move me forward and to having a great week at St Andrews, and you never know that down the road, there could be some good tussles with me, Rory and Jordan."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE