Pádraig Harrington called a shot on himself on his final hole and double bogeyed it to miss the cut by two shots in heartbreaking circumstances at the Honda Classic.
The Dubliner confessed after his opening 68 that he didn't play well but took advantage of his lucky breaks to post a decent score
He'd hoped to push on in the second round at PGA National and forget all about the cut mark on one of the PGA Tour's most demanding courses. But the opposite happened and while he played better than he did for his 68, he got no luck at all and came to the ninth hole needing a par four to survive the level par cut.
Despite hitting his three-wood poorly all week, he felt obliged to pull that club on the 408-yard par four but, almost inevitably, ended up in the pine straw near the trees on the left.
"I'd like to have gone back to hit my five wood at this stage or my driver, but I didn't," he said at the finish. "I didn't think the ball was lying too bad [in the needles]. I was moving a twig about six inches away from it and it just toppled over. Another penalty, I am getting a lot of bad breaks."
The 42-year old put his hands on his head in horror, called over playing partner JB Holmes and hit a nice third from just under 140 yards that finished a few yards short of the green.
Needing to hole his chip from no more than 20 feet to survive the cut, he frighted the hole but ran it six feet past and then missed a bogey putt that made no differnce to his fate.
"I gave it a good go with the chip," he said philosophically, clearly disappointed to miss his fourth cut from his last five starts when he's desperately looking for a win that would get him into the Masters.
"Yesterday I got the breaks, today I didn't. I hit some nice shots at times, no doubt about it, but I didn't hit my three-wood very well. I drove it solid but I am not making enough birdies."
Asked if he was saving up his good luck for another day, he said candidly: "Well, I had a lot yesterday but not too much today, so maybe it evened out over the two days."
Life just seems to get harder for Harrington the harder he tries.
He remarked after his opening 68 that it was crucial to build on the two under par start he'd given himself and forget all about the Friday cut.
"If you are going out one over or level you are thinking what the cut is going to be and when you are thinking that you move towards it," he said at the time. "I have missed three cuts on the bubble this year and just can't get away from it when I am on it.
"Tomorrow I will go out on two under and hopefully I'll be trying to get into contention, looking at five-under par rather than thinking, what's the cut going to be."
In the end, his words came back to haunt him and he was on the back foot for most of the day.
Starting at the 10th, he had to get up and down from sand to save par and then bogeyed the 11th when he came up short on the bank of the lake that guards the green and didn't get up and down.
He got that shot back with a birdie two from 13 feet at the 15th but gave it back again at the 17th, where he was bunkered left.
He was bunkered again in two at the 18th and missed a 10 footer for birdie to go into the back nine just a shot inside the cut mark on one-under par.
He needed a good break but drove left into the hazard at the second and dropped another shot to put himself exactly where he didn't want to be.
While his final hole was the killer, the coup de grace arguably came at the par-five third where his approach pitched on the green and then ricocheted off a deckchair and finished 40 yards away. After a duffed chip, he bogeyed and trudged to the fourth tee looking crestfallen.
"I gave them all back," Harrington said of the hard work he had done on Thursday. "It was a strange day that way. I hit a lovely shot into the third hole, the par five. It went into the wind a little more than we though, landed around 25 feet from the hole, pitched on a chair and went 40 yards away. Took six.
"Instead of having a little chip from the edge of the green, three yards off the green, I've got a 40 yard pitch. I made a nice birdie on the next and hit it close coming in, but I have hit my three wood poorly all week, really badly, and I had to hit it off the last tee."
Harrington now has just four more opportunities to avoid missing the Masters for the first time since he first qualified in 2000.
He must win but given his problems grinding out a score when he is playing poorly or taking advantage of his good play by racking up the birdies when he is playing well, it is tough to see him win in Tampa, at Bay Hill or in the two Texas events in San Antonio and Houston.
His stats at the Honda Classic were average — 13 of 28 fairways, 20 of 36 greens and 57 putts for 36 holes. Not only that, he sports fewer logos than ever and the front of his cap is now bereft of a sponsor's name.
With no cutting edge, zero momentum and nothing more than his own determination to keep him going, he can at least look lovingly at the three major championship trophies he has on his kitchen counter when he gets home for a week's break to prepare for another battle with the golfing gods.
Darren Clarke has three weeks off to cherish his Claret Jug after a week to forget in Palm Beach Gardens.
The Dungannon man shot rounds of 77 and 78 to finish dead last on 15 over par with 11 bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple against just three birdies.
He had 37 putts on Friday, 13 more than leader Rory McIlroy and 18 more than his fellow Ulsterman over the two days.