Padraig Harrington fell just short of his bid to win a fourth Major Championship but can take plenty of positives from the week after relishing the challenge presented by the 112th US Open Championship.
Harrington forced his way into contention with a round that included five birdies, including a chip in on the 13th, but looking for a closing birdie he pulled his approach into the left bunker.
The plugged lie gave him no chance of getting it close and his bunker shot ran over the green into the rough. And while a brave chip looked for a moment to be heading towards the cup, it pulled up short and, at three over par 283, his challenge was over.
Nevertheless, he can look back on his closing 68 with pride, and the reality was that it was the two four putts during round one which did most of the damage.
“It was a good day all around,” he said. “I missed a few chances, got a few chances. When I look back through the week I'm probably going to be three shots, four shots short, by the looks of it.
“I could have certainly found those four shots throughout the week and that's a nice place to be. To know that when I played here in '98, I finished 27th and I maxed out every bit of ounce of talent I had in me to finish 27th.
“This time around I top five and I feel like I could have easily been a number of shots better. So it's nice to feel comfortable in those sort of situations.”
While the course got the better of many players this week, Harrington appeared to thoroughly enjoy the stern examination presented by the USGA at the Olympic Club.
“I thought the golf course was just a phenomenal setup,” he said. “We can't play golf on a golf course like this every week, but it was a joy to play. It was testing all the way through, but very fair. I don't think there was a hole out there that you couldn't maybe hit two good shots and think that you weren't going to make birdie only. And that's a great sign when every hole gives you the opportunity if you play it well to make birdie.
“And if you slip up, and if you did slip up it wasn't like it was impossible to make a par either. If you got it back in play, you could get yourself a reasonable chance of getting p and down. “And maybe that's why I'm a little bit disappointed at three over par - I don't feel like the course beat me up this week. I feel like I left a few out there.”