Shane Lowry believes it's time to push on and put his Masters quest behind him and set about rediscovering his early season form. The problem is balancing his own expectations with the sky high expectations of everyone else.
Languishing near the bottom of the leaderboard after opening with a six-over 78, the Clara man birdied two of his last three holes to close with a one-over 73 that featured some flashes of the brilliance that brought him his first win for more than three years in Abu Dhabi in January but not enough to give him another two rounds.
"I was just going out there trying to shoot the best score I could, and that’s 73," he said. "On every easy hole, I hit a poor tee shot or did something stupid. I made a lot of silly mistakes.
"But the damage was done yesterday. You are going out trying to chase a score, and it’s the last golf course in the world you want to be doing that at."
After all the hype surrounding his return to Augusta National following his win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, Lowry used up so much emotional energy trying to make sure that he stayed in the world's top 50 that his form suffered and he almost got squeezed out.
Keen then to play his A1 game when he finally headed down Magnolia Lane, he produced a D-minus performance on Thursday that did little justice to his talent.
"This course needs your full attention and your full mental ability for a full week," he said. "I need to come here in a week like that. It is not a course where you can get away with silly mistakes. Every week we play, we get away with the odd silly mistake here or there. But it just punishes you here. Every time I hit a decent shot, I felt like had a putt over a ridge or went over the back of a couple of greens dead, and it’s tricky."
That said, he knows it's still on early April and with the US PGA in May, the US Open in June and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and The Open in July, he's got lots of golf still to play.
"There is a long year ahead, and I am not hitting any panic buttons yet," he said after missing his fourth cut in his last five strokeplay starts. "I am in a good place, and obviously the scores are not there.
"But I honestly feel like my game is there at the minute. I don’t feel like I am searching for anything. I just need to have a look at whether I am trying too hard and wanting it too much. Going forward I might have to have a look at that.
"Obviously the last few months haven’t been ideal over here, and the results haven't been that great, but I suppose it’s one win in eight starts if you are looking at that. But I need to move on now and look for a bit of form. I am not playing that much golf in the next while."
He knows he is not yet at the level of major winners Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, a Brooks Koepka, an Adam Scott or Louis Oosthuizen or even a Rory McIlroy.
But he also knows that he's capable of winning the biggest events in the game and needs to find a way to deal with internal and external expectations if he's to take advantage of yet another chance to consolidate his place among the big boys.
He has high expectations of himself but they are not always the same as those who watch from beyond the ropes, and he sometimes finds that dynamic difficult to manage.
"Expectation is a dangerous thing," he said. "I played the last few months of last year with not much expectation and went into Abu Dhabi with not much, and you win there, and the expectations from yourself and others creep up, and it's a tough one to get right. I don’t think I have it right at the moment and maybe that’s my problem."
As for his play at Augusta National, he didn't drive the ball well enough and was one-over for the par-fives. He was also far from his best with the putter, which is a key club at any major championship.
Asked if Augusta National was a searching NCT of the state of his game, he said: “I suppose so. But it’s funny. And golf is funny. It’s two days of golf and you are tying to get your game perfect but it is tough to do that. It is tough to peak your game. I have done everything going into majors and had mixed performances in all of them — really good ones and really poor ones.
"I honestly feel like I played as good as I could for this week, but just didn’t play good enough yesterday. Mentally I wasn’t as good as I could have been. My game just didn’t stand up the last couple of days. So that’s just the way this place is."
He needed a round in the sixties to make the cut after opening with a 78, but on a course as demanding as Augusta National, he knew in his heart of hearts that the game was not there.
Struggling off the tee too often and nowhere near his best on the greens, he was punished for every mistake, even if he did finish well with birdies at the 16 and 17th helping him post a 73 that left him on seven-over.
"I am obviously a little disappointed — I was going in the back nine thinking if I could shoot four or five under… but I didn’t," he said.
"For someone like me, I need to be fully on to compete around here. It takes every part of your game to be as good as it could possibly be to do well here.”
The Offaly man three-putted the fifth and then bogeyed the seventh from the middle of the fairway to turn in two-over. But while he felt he could still shot four or five under on the back nine, it was not to be.
"Every week we play, we get away with the odd silly mistake here or there,” he said after mixing bogeys at the 10th and 15th with birdies at the 13th, 16th and 17th.
"But it just punishes you here. Every time I hit a decent shot, I felt like had a putt over a ridge or went over the back of a couple of greens dead, and it’s tricky."
He has an invitation for the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head next week before he partners Pádraig Harrington in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and while he’d prefer a week off to reflect, he may the spark he needs to ignite his game ahead of the meat of the Major season.
His schedule is light in May and June with the US PGA in May and the US Open in early June before returns home for the run into the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch and The Open at Royal Portrush.
Asked what might be missing, he said: "I feel like I want a few days to get my head around things, relax and soak in what I have done this year so far and try and find something.
"The funny thing about this game is that there is always a point before you start playing good — mentally or physically — that’s a trigger. So I will be searching for that over the next few days."