Published Sunday, 22 July 2012
Graeme McDowell chips onto the 9th green during his final round. (© Getty)
Stepping onto the first tee on the final day at Royal Lytham and St Annes, the Portrush man knew that a five shot swing would be enough to see him claim the Claret Jug.
McDowell got off to a shaky start though, with poor second shot at the second hole leading to a first bogey of the day.
A second dropped shot was to follow at the sixth, putting the 2010 US Open Champion back down to five under.
There was a reprieve when McDowell birdied the par-4 eighth, but that good work was undone by further bogeys at nine and ten.
With the chance of clinching his second Major slipping away, G-Mac decided to go for broke on the par 5 eleventh.
It proved to be a bad decision as he skewed his effort into the trees. The ball was declared lost, and although McDowell escaped with just a bogey, the damage had been done as he slipped six shots off the pace with six holes to play.
With his chance to bring the famous jug back to Portrush for the second successive year now over, McDowell finished with two further bogeys and a birdie to end on two-under for the tournament.
"It was a tough day at the office, no doubt about it," McDowell said.
"But I'm not splattered on the floor right now in disappointment. I'm just a little frustrated.
"I guess my disappointment kind of seems relatively stupid. I've just seen a guy lose the Open Championship."
McDowell was referring to playing partner Adam Scott, who endured a disastrous finish despite looking odds-on to secure the title.
The Australian was four shots clear of the field after a birdie at 14, but managed to bogey at 15, 16 and 17. This left him needing a birdie to finish a shot clear of South African Ernie Els, who had made it back to the clubhouse on seven-under.
However, it wasn't to be for Scott, who landed in the bunker at eighteen and then failed to sink the putt that would have forced a play-off, handing Els his fourth major title by a single stroke.
"I mean, what can you say?" said McDowell.
"It was tough to say anything to him that was going to be of any relevance.
"I said he's a great champion and there's many majors ahead for him. It's just a tough beat."
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy ended on eight over par and joint 60th after a closing 73.
The 23-year-old had been in joint fifth spot when he opened with a 67, but he then had a 41-hole stretch containing only one birdie.
"I think the thing for me is to stay patient," he said.
"If it doesn't happen over the next couple of weeks no big deal. It's a 20-year career, so I'm not going to get too wound up just over a few weeks."
"What I'm experiencing at the minute is frustrating at times, but it's not anything that I can't deal with.
"I'm obviously very disappointed because I felt like I was coming in here playing pretty well.
"I had a really nice first round, set myself up well for the week and then just started to struggle after that," the Holywood man explained.