Niall Turner insisted he would be taking the positives from his near miss in the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic.
The 28-year old Corkman missed out on a play-off for the title by a shot when his putter went ice cold in the searing heat at Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap.
His third place finish gave him the consolation prize of a cheque for $18,500 and a place in the Panasonic Open in India in two weeks’ time.
But having started the day just one stroke off the lead, the former Irish international was disappointed to take 32 putts in a level par 72 that left him a stroke shy of a sudden-death playoff on 14 under par.
“I just couldn’t make my putts,” Turner said. “I didn’t hit my irons close today like the last three days but I just couldn’t buy a putt out there.
“My speed was a fraction off and I wasn’t taking the lines as well. Just left too many putts short. Don’t think I was aggressive enough with the putts. Very disappointing.”
Forced to return to the Q-School earlier this year in an attempt to improve his category, Turner failed to do so and was left to rue a missed opportunity to grab his firt major win as a professional.
“There was so much pressures especially with the category I have out here, not fully exempt,” said Turner, who moved up to 24th in the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. “Every event I get into, I have to play well. There was pressure from start to finish.
“But it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve always handle well under pressure. I felt I did it well but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I just couldn’t get a putt to drop. I guess I was trying to hard to make the putts instead of letting it happen.
“Nine, I made a poor three putt. I still felt fine after that. I still made a two putt birdie on 13 but just couldn’t get anything to go.
“That was the goal, to finish top five. I guess I accomplished that. But having a chance to win, that’s disappointing but I’ll take a ton of positives from this, it’s been a great week.”
While Turner wondered what might have been, 23-year old American rookie David Lipsky produced a superb chip-in birdie to defeat Elmer Salvador of the Philippines at the first extra hole.
The Korean-American, who won the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School in January, enjoyed his maiden professional victory in front of six-time Major champion Nick Faldo, who designed the course.
Starting the day seven shots off the lead, he closed with a stunning seven-under-par 65 for a 15-under-par 273 total. A gritty Salvador had a 10-foot birdie putt at the last for the outright win but missed and had to settle for a 68 and a play-off.
Overnight leader Kim Hyung-Sung shot a 75 to slip back to ninth on 12 under.
As for Turner, the towering Muskerry man birdied the second to take the lead but bogeyed the par-three fourth and then three putted the ninth to turn in one over 37, his worst front nine of the week by three strokes.
Having opened with rounds of 67, 67 and 68, he needed to make things happen on the back nine but while he got back to level for the day with a birdie at the par-five 13th, his long range birdie effort at the last failed to drop.
“I really can’t believe I’m here right now,” said a jubilant Lipsky, who earned US$47,550 and a priceless winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour till the end of 2014.
“The chip-in was unbelievable. I practice my short game pretty hard and I thought I had a chance to make it. It was one of those makeable ones up the hill. Just tried to give it a good strike and see what happened.”
Before the play-off, the pivotal moment for Lipsky came at the 15th hole.
“I won Q-school and I knew I had the game in me,” he said. “I’m happy it showed up here. On 15, I saw that everyone was bunched on 13-under.
“I had a 50 foot putt (for birdie) and I jarred it and thought I could have a chance to win.”
He was correct. He went on to birdie the 16th hole to pull ahead of the pack.
He added: “This is phenomenal as it opens up so many doors for me. Apparently, I’m in the winner’s category now and I didn’t know what that meant. I guess I’ll find out.”
The 42-year-old Salvador had a good look for an outright win but misjudged his putt at the 72nd hole.
“My putting was sometimes good, sometimes bad,” the Filipino said. “On 14, I had a putter length chance for birdie but I didn’t get it in. On 18, I charged my putt and my line was not good. That was my chance.
“It was a good chip (by Lipsky), it was like a billiard shot … the way he stopped the ball (into the hole). Can’t do anything about that. I still feel happy. Two times losing in a play-off now, I don’t know why. I’ll keep trying.”