Andy Sullivan is hoping to use his second-placed finish at the Portugal Masters as a springboard into the Final Series next month.
The defending champion held a share of the halfway lead after a stunning 61 on Friday and was back in a tie for top spot with 12 holes to play after making four birdies in his first five holes on Sunday.
But he ran out of steam a touch on the back nine and was left to watch Padraig Harrington make a par on the last to beat him by a single shot at Victoria Clube de Golfe.
The 29 year old has been followed around this week by a 'Team Sulli' with over 70 members and, despite just missing out on being the first man to ever successfully defend the title, he has enjoyed his week in Vilamoura.
"I just couldn't get anything to drop on the back nine," he said. "It was frustrating, I gave myself so many chances but it wasn't my day on the greens.
"I'm still massively proud of the way I've come out here and tried to defend my title. The fans were great, unfortunately I couldn't deliver another win but fair play to Paddy, he played great.
"There are a lot of positives to take from the week, I can't wait to get struck into the Final Series and finish the season well."
Dane Anders Hansen finished a shot behind Sullivan and he provided one of the stories of the week just 12 months after announcing his retirement at the 2015 edition.
I can't wait to get struck into the Final Series and finish the season well - Andy Sullivan
The 46 year old hung up his spikes after three wins and 419 events as he finished in a tie for 22nd last season, although the door was always open for a return as he is exempt due to his place in the top 40 on the career money list.
He held the lead after making a hat trick of birdies from the fourth but he finished his round with 12 straight pars to secure a tie for third in just his fifth event of the season.
"The first nine was good, very solid," he said. "The last nine I drove the ball fine but my iron shots weren't good enough.
"It's a great week, I had a great time and I'm going to have a little time off now."