Graeme McDowell endured a “tough day at the office” as he was unable to get any momentum to mount a final day challenge at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Heading out in the final group for the second successive Major, McDowell struggled in the more testing windy conditions on the final day of The Open and was unable to fulfil his pre-championship prediction that the Claret Jug would stay in Northern Ireland as a final round of 75 for a two under par total of 278 left him five shots behind champion Ernie Els.
“Such a huge change in conditions today,” he said after finishing joint fifth with Donald. “You're going from playing flat pan golf a few days to playing in a strong cross wind and there are adaptions you have to make, things you have to change in your game, and I didn't do that well today.
“It was a tough day at the office, no doubt about it.”
McDowell trailed 54 hole leader Scott by four shots heading into the final round but dropped a shot on the second and another on the sixth, when all he could do was chip into the middle of the bunker he found himself in after his second shot was virtually unplayable under the lip. And while he birdied the eighth, three bogeys followed and his hopes were gone when he lost his ball on the 11th after a hooked second shot from the middle of the fairway.
“Going into the last round of both the US Open and The Open Championship this year with chances to win, getting off to flat starts both days, I'll be analysing why,” he said.
“Taking the positives away from today though, you can't buy that type of education I've just had and that education I had five weeks ago at Olympic. You just can't buy that. I'll bank those experiences and I'll move on and just know that if I keep putting myself in contention that someday it will be my day.”
And McDowell’s disappointment was nothing compared to that of Adam Scott who let a four shot lead with four to play slip away, the Northern Irishman admitting he found it difficult to say anything to his playing partner.
"It was tough to say anything to him that was going to be of any relevance,” said McDowell.
"I said he's a great champion and there's many Majors ahead for him. It's just a tough beat.”