Luke Donald Victory in the Scottish Open

INVERNESS, Scotland (AP) — Luke Donald enjoyed the perfect warmup for next week’s British Open with a flawless 9-under 63 to win the rain-shortened Scottish Open by four strokes, his first victory since becoming the world’s top-ranked player in May.

The 33-year-old Englishman started the third and final round a shot behind a trio of joint leaders but rolled in nine birdies in a majestic bogey-free display at Castle Stuart.

With only a light wind leaving the links course defenseless, Donald romped home with a winning total of 19 under, ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed (62).

The former Europe Ryder Cup captain briefly shared the lead in the final round after a birdie at the sixth, but dropped four shots at the start of the back nine to shatter his hopes.

No player has ever won the Scottish Open and gone on to win the British Open the following week, but Donald — a model of consistency this year — looks in good position to become the first.

“I only see this as a positive,” he said. “I’ll be high on confidence. I’m hitting the ball nicely and to do it on a links course is even better. I’m looking forward to bringing this game to next week.”

Donald completed his second round in overcast conditions early on Sunday with a second straight 67, giving him a good platform to make a charge for the title in his first Scottish Open since 2007.

He had to hit the ground running in the final round, with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell leading yesterday and Scots Peter Whiteford and Jamieson a shot clear.

Donald did just that with a birdie on No. 3, before draining a 40-footer across the slope on the short fourth to share the lead.

Two more birdies made it four in a row and although he was briefly joined in front by Tullo, the joint leader from the first round, the relentless Donald sank a 15-footer to pick up another birdie on No. 9. He then benefited from a free drop out of a waterlogged bunker on the 10th fairway to make a sensational up-and-down.

That took him two strokes ahead and he closed with three birdies over the last four holes, recording three straight rounds in the 60s.

“It’s nice to get another victory. I can get used to this,” Donald said.

Lee Westwood shot a closing 68 and was tied for 14th at 12 under, a stroke behind Matt Kuchar from the United States (67). Fellow American Phil Mickelson had a 69 and finished at 7 under

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