Shane Lowry is convinced can challenge for the Masters — especially if he improves his putting.
Tied second after round one and inside the top-10 heading into the weekend, the Clara ace was gutted to end up tied 39th and 15 shots behind winner Danny Willett.
He was thrilled to ace the 16th on Sunday, but knows he must take his putting to the next level to challenge for a green jacket.
Lowry said: “It’s hard to say, ‘Yeah, I could win the Masters some day’, but I do feel like I could come here and contend. I really do.
“If you can contend, you can win, so I do feel like I can come here and potentially win this some day — I’m not going to shy away from it.
"I showed it for quite a while this week. It’s definitely a course that suits me.”
Tied for second behind Jordan Spieth after a first round 68, Lowry knows his short game let him down.
He said: “My chipping wasn’t 100 per cent this week, which is a bit disappointing because it’s the best part of my game.”
Laughing, he added: “And I didn’t hole enough putts — other than that it was perfect!
“I drove the ball well, my iron play was good but I just need to sharpen up around the greens and it could have been a better week.
“I think if you look at golf in general, if you putt the lights out, whoever putts the best, wins most weeks.
“You look at Jordan, he even said it himself, his putter kept him in it on Saturday. It’s something my putter hasn’t been doing, it hasn’t been keeping me in rounds at all.
“The annoying thing for me is that I don’t feel I’m putting badly, I just feel like I’m holing nothing.
“A month ago I felt I was putting badly and wasn’t comfortable. But I feel really comfortable out there now and I just can’t seem to get the ball in the hole.
"It’s a bit disappointing but sure that’s the way it goes. I felt very comfortable this week here, a lot more comfortable than I did last year.
“Augusta National is an intimidating place to come and play, especially in this tournament. But there was no sign of nerves at any stage. I really do feel I belong in places like this.”
Lowry has three weeks off before he returns for the Quail Hollow Championship and The Players before heading home for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the BMW PGA at Wentworth.
Meanwhile, his sponsors Bank of Ireland have announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Lowry and Bank of Ireland have agreed to support the Irish Open Golf Skills Challenge for under-15s, which is run by the European Tour in conjunction with the Confederation of Golf in Ireland.
Golf clubs can enter this ‘Sponsor for a Day’ competition up to April 22 by visiting https://www.bankofireland.com/sponsor-for-a-day-entry-form/