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Phil Mickelson left to rue 3 straight bogeys at 18th as hopes of Scottish Open defense fade

Phil Mickelson never tires of expressing his affection for Scottish links courses — but he won't be taking away any fond memories of the 18th hole at Royal Aberdeen this week.

The chances of the American defending his Scottish Open title looked doubtful on Saturday after he bogeyed No. 18 for the third straight round.

That completed a third round of 1-under 70 and left him a long way off the pace in the warm-up for the British Open, which he also won last year.

Mickelson says "I need a really low round tomorrow. It's got to be 8 or 9-under-par but it's out there and I'll be off early enough to make some noise."

Ahead of the British Open, Mickelson says his game "has gotten a little bit better ... and that's a good sign."