Shane Lowry left Muirfield convinced that he has the game to become a major championship contender some day.
The 26-year old closed with a one under 70 to finish tied for 32nd on nine over par, his best performance in the major in just his fourth start.
And he now knows that with a little more experience, he has the ingredients that go into making a major championship winner.
“I definitely know I’m good enough,” Lowry said. “I played the par-5s poorly all week. I played 14, 15, 16 very poorly all week. Yeah, ifs and buts. It could have been a better week.
“Like I said at the start of the week, I’m only 26 and I need to play in as many Majors as I can. I want to play in them all. I think in two, three, four years time I’ll be going into Major championships trying to compete and trying to win them.
“I definitely think it’s good enough to happen, but I just think I need to get a bit more experience in them.
“I love tough golf courses. When chipping and putting is key I normally do well. I think, I definitely, definitely have the game to compete at these tournaments like the Open where it is tough and it’s a grind. It is like any other week, if you putt well you will do well.”
Asked if he was leaving feeling more encouraged than anything else about his future prospects in major, he said: “Definitely. I am going away from this week knowing I can win one of these things one day.”
Lowry got off to a great start with a birdie at the first and then chipped in from behind the green for an eagle three at the ninth that could prove costly for his caddie Dermot Byrne.
“That’s 10 (chip-ins) this year so one more and I win my bet with Dermo. Eleven chip ins to win. He’s paying for a holiday.”
However, Lowry’s bad run of luck on the stretch from the 14th to the 16th continued.
Having bogeyed those holes on each of the first two days, the double bogeyed the 14th in the final round (bunkered under the lip, three putts) and then dropped another shot at the 16th before getting one of those shots back at the 17th.
“I played lovely again. I actually feel a bit hard done by. I only hit one bad shot and that was on 14. I didn’t hit a great shot on 16, either. I should have made par there. Missed a short putt. I think 70 was the worst score I could have shot today.”
Admitting that Muirfield frustrated him at times, Lowry said: “It’s that type of golf course, I think. I think where it got away from me was the first round when I was looking at the leaderboard a bit much, and looking at everyone making birdie, and I’m quite frustrated when I’m making bogeys. It’s a bit of a mistake but I’ve learned from that, and I’ll know not to do that the next time.
“I played the par-5s poorly all week. I played 14, 15, 16 very poorly all week. Yeah, ifs and buts. It could have been a better week…. I was very poor on the greens. Very, very poor on the greens.
“I could pick five shots I could have saved on the greens… I am nine over par and definitely, without doing anything, I could have finished two or three over.”
Lowry earned €29,859 to remain 45th in the Race to Dubai and almost certainly move into the top 80 in the world heading to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship.
“I am looking forward to it,” Lowry said of his return to Firestone, where he was 77th of 79 on 20 over par on his first and only appearance there as a raw rookie in 2009.
“I was 20 over the last time so I think I should do that this time although I hope I am not jinxing myself. It’s a tough golf course and I am really looking forward to going back there.
“It’s four years ago now and I know my game is definitely a lot better than I twas then. I am more experienced and a lot more comfortable, I suppose, in the surroundings.”