Martin Kaymer could not hide his disappointment as he lost a three-shot lead to finish runner-up at the 72° OPEN D'ITALIA presented by DAMIANI.
The two-time Major Championship winner was seeking his first victory since the US Open at Pinehurst last year and he looked on course to triumph at Golf Club Milano when he made the turn on Sunday at 21 under.
However, bogeys on the tenth, 13th and 14th dropped him back into the pack and the German needed a birdie on the 16th to get to 19 under and into a play-off which was won by Rikard Karlberg at the second time of asking on the 18th.
The win was Karlberg's first on the European Tour while Kaymer was seeking his 12th and, while the world number 22 was quick to praise his conqueror, he admitted he had nobody to blame but himself for his failure to finish the job.
"It was a disappointing finish to be honest," he said. "We made too many mistakes on the back nine. There were two or three tactical and clubbing mistakes. That happens sometimes but it shouldn't have happened in that situation today because you need all the help you can get. We should have been more focused.
"I played well all week but not on the back nine today and that has cost me the tournament today."
He added: "You have to say well done to Rikard. He made a great birdie to win after I had my chance in the first play-off hole. I had a good yardage to the flag but I didn't really release the club and give myself a good chance for birdie.
"But I don't want to take anything away from his win – he played a great final round then made a birdie to win the play-off so he deserved it today."
Behind Kaymer and Karlberg there were seven players on 18 under, including Joakim Lagergren, who equalled the low round of the week with a 63.
It was just a second top ten of the year for the Swede and he admitted that he was not thinking about a charge up the leaderboard when he teed off.
"I played really well today and holed a lot of putts," he said. "I'm really pleased."
He added: "I didn't bother with the leaderboards today. I thought I was going to be four, five shots back anyway so there was no point in looking at them.
"I'm looking forward to the end of the year now and hopefully I can put myself in better positions going into the final round."
Another man in the group at 18 under was Danny Willett, who picked up four shots in his last five holes, as he gained more valuable points in the Race to Dubai.
The Englishman is second in the standings and admitted a poor spell during every round this week cost him dearly.
"Every day we've had a six-hole spell that's been really quiet and stale and missed a couple of silly putts," he said. "Today it happened from seven to 12 and then we again got it going on the last few.
"Every day we've had a really stale spell and it's cost us a couple of shots here and there."