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Stephen Gallacher: Tyrrell Hatton is my tip for US glory at Torrey Pines

Tyrrell Hatton is my tip for US Open glory this week
Tyrrell Hatton is my tip for US Open glory this week

Phil Mickelson managed to fly under the radar in his last major appearance but all eyes are on the US PGA champion as he bids to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the US Open this week.

But Phil is so used to winning majors that I expect he will have enjoyed revelling in the limelight.

In case you hadn’t noticed the American is far from a shrinking violet. He is comfortable when the spotlight is on him and he likes being the man everyone is watching on the golf course.

Some will be feeling the pressure at Torrey Pines this week but Phil? He’ll be lapping it up.

He has every reason to be in good spirits. He’s a major winner again and he knows if he plays well this week he will be in with a shout. As someone who will be watching from home I will certainly be rooting for him to be in the mix on Sunday as I know I’ll be in for some great entertainment if he is.

Phil Mickelson celebrates after winning the PGA Championship last month

I haven’t played Torrey Pines before but it is definitely on my list. With this being the US Open I don’t think there is any doubt about what lies ahead either.

The set-up will be thick rough and the course will play tight and firm. The interesting part is watching how the guys in the field try to tackle the challenge it presents.

I think of someone like Bryson DeChambeau and wonder if he will try to power his way round and cut corners. Then you have Brooks Koepka, who spent last week almost apologising for missing the cut at the Palmetta Championship because he was so focused on his preparation this week, and Garrick Higgo, who is coming into this event in fantastic form.

The differing preparations and approaches to majors are what intrigue me.

While Phil will be the sentimental favourite on US soil the guy I’m tipping, and I say this with no degree of confidence given my previous predictions – is Tyrrell Hatton.

He was tied for second at the weekend behind Higgo and he is a player who always seems to come into form at this time of the year.

We’re due some new winners and Tyrrell has as good a chance as anyone in my book.

Torrey Pines is a good drivers’ course and Tyrrell is on form so if I have to pick one I’ll choose him. Knowing my record, however, the poor guy is probably going to miss the cut now.

Bob MacIntyre hopes to contend this week

Bob MacIntyre will be flying the flag for Scotland for the sixth major in a run which is fantastic and I hope I’ll be able to follow his progress this week too.

He is a rookie of the year on the European Tour and is a Ryder Cup contender so it is natural that he wants to become a major challenger too.

It’s all part of the learning process for Bob and certainly the experience gained from playing in majors on a regular basis can only help him improve.

He is comfortable at that level now and hopefully he can have a good week.

Mixed events are here to stay

The feedback from the Scandinavian Mixed has been nothing but positive but I am not surprised. It looked like terrific fun.

Congratulations to Jonathan Caldwell on winning the event and also to Alice Hewson whose third place finish was an excellent effort on her part.

The mixed field, featuring an equal number of male and female pros, was split favourably towards the men but the women who took part held their own which is great to see.

We have another event of this type scheduled next month at the ISPS Handa World Invitational which will be played at Galgorm in Northern Ireland and I’m all for these type of tournaments.

The challenge will be in ensuring the set-up is fair for these events. You cannot make it a bombers’ course as that will favour the guys. It has to be an even contest and not an event decided by who has the best power game.

They seemed to get the balance right at the weekend and there is no reason why we can’t have the European Tour and Ladies European Tour coming together three or four times a season for events like this in the future.

Can we get a Scottish double in the Amateur Championship?

Forget 23 years for Scotland’s men to play in the finals of a major tournament, it has been 24 years since a Scot won the Women’s Amateur Championship.

That run came to an end at the weekend when Louise Duncan of West Kilbride recorded the biggest winning margin in the event’s history when she beat Johanna Lea Ludviksdottir of Iceland 9&8 in the 36-hole final at Kilmarnock.

Louise Duncan is the first Scot to win the event since 1997

I’m pleased not just for Louise but also for Dean Robertson who was her caddie. He is doing great work at Stirling with some of the emerging young Scots.

It was a great effort from the Scottish women with Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling and Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam also reaching the semi-finals. I know they’ll be disappointed not to make the final but they flew the flag for Scotland brilliantly by making it three Scots in the last four.

It is the turn of the men this week at Nairn but sadly Sandy Scott’s wrist injury has ruled him out of competing at his home course in Nairn. Here’s hoping we get another Scottish winner there too to keep the feelgood factor going.