Padraig Harrington fired an impressive final round 68 to finish tied for 24th behind surprise winner Nick Watney in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.
The reigning Open and US PGA champion was making up the numbers in 48th place after following an opening 71 on the easier North course with a pair of two-over par 74s on the South.
But he saved the best for last and will be hoping for even better when he continues his countdown to the Masters at Pebble Beach this week.
Speaking after his closing 68, Harrington said: "I am glad I came. Obviously I didn't play as well as I wanted to. I suppose I needed to go through a week like this to see where things were at. I have a good idea what I need to do going forward. I hit some good shots today and some bad one as well.
"Today was the first day of the four days that I wasn't fighting my swing. The first three days every shot I was hitting I was fighting a hook. It was a lot better today and I am quite positive going forward."
Starting on the back nine at the South Course, Harrington struggled off the tee early on but still scorched to the turn in four-under par 32 thanks to birdies at the 10th and 13th and a spectacular eagle three at the 570-yard 18th.
Bringing back memories of his incredible eagle on the 71st hole at Royal Birkdale, the world No 3 split the fairway with a three-wood and then hit a five-wood to 20 feet and drained the tricky downhill putt.
Opting to leave his driver in the bag, Harrington saved par from greenside sand at the second and fourth before dropping his only shot of the day at the 560-yard sixth, where he was bunkered off the tee and then three-putted from the front edge.
A birdie at the 614-yard ninth, where he hit two fairway woods and then wedged to four feet, allowed him the finish his first PGA Tour start of the season in red figures on one-under par.
But it as a disappointing final day for overnight leader Rollins, who could only look on in despair as the unheralded Watney birdied the last to steal the tournament from under his nose.
Both went into the 72nd hole tied on ten-under-par, but Rollins bunkered his approach and failed with a 12 footer for birdie after Sacramento native Watney had left his long range eagle putt from the back of the green just three and a half feet away.
Rollins had started the day three shots clear of the field but was unable to hold his nerve down the stretch and finished with an untidy two-over-par 74 to finish a stroke behind in second place
First round leader Camilo Villegas closed with a level par 72 to share third place with American Lucas Glover on nine-under par.
Harrington began his season in Abu Dhabi four weeks ago, finishing tied for fifth behind Paul Casey.
Struggling with his swing before he arrived in the United States, he underwent minor surgery to remove two sun spots around his right eye two weeks ago and will be hoping for an improvement in his game when he tees it up alongside JP McManus in this week's AT&T National Pro-AM at Pebble Beach.
Dubliner Paul McGinley will partner businessman Dermot Desmond.