For the second year running Adam Scott let slip the British Open lead in the final round, unable to halt a rampaging Phil Mickelson from claiming his first Claret Jug.
However, this year at Muirfield, Scott was more upbeat than last year when he dropped the final four holes in succession at Royal Lytham to hand the trophy over to Ernie Els.
The fact he has broken his major drought with victory in the US Masters and the point that he is now consistently in contention, has given Scott
more hope for the future.
The Queenslander had been the leading Australian in the hunt all week and seized a one shot lead with six holes to play before again slumping over four of them.
There may have been no hope Scott could have stopped the American though, who stormed through the homeward nine to shoot a final round 66 and win by three shots.
It was Mickelson’s fifth major and came one month after he finished runner-up at the US Open for a record sixth time. The 43-year-old brushed aside the back nine in 32, playing unstoppable golf to win ahead of Swede Henrik Stenson in outright second with Scott tied for third with the English duo of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
Mickelson, who added the Open to his Masters wins in 2004, 2006 and 2010 and the 2005 PGA Championship, said his final round which propelled him to glory had been the greatest of his career.
"This is such an accomplishment because I never knew whether I’d be able to develop my game to play links golf," said Mickelson who had been full of self-doubt when he first experienced the windblown undulating British courses decades ago. "I played arguably the best round of my career, and shot the round of my life.
"The range of emotions I feel are as far apart as possible after losing the US Open. To win this feels amazing."
Scott, despite his failure, is convinced he will continue upwards following his Masters triumph but admitted he had let a great chance slip through his fingers.
"You have to be resilient in this game," Scott said. "These last couple of weeks, these last couple of months, I’ve played some of the best golf of my career. I think the disappointing thing is this one I felt I wasted a little bit.
"I’m happy I put myself in with a chance. My game is in great shape, that’s the good thing to take from it. But had I played a little more solid in the middle of that back nine, I could have had a chance coming in."
The Australian is certain the Masters will not be the sole grand slam title alongside his name.
"I like where my game’s at, you know, up there and contending for most of the week," he said. "That’s where I want to be. That’s where I’ve got to keep myself.
"I believe I can win another one soon.
"If it wasn’t this week, hopefully I’ll do the same stuff at the PGA Championship (next month) and I can put my foot down there on the back nine and run away with it."
Scott began the final round tied for fourth and dropped two shots early before surging into contention with a string of four birdies in five holes.
But that was it as he lipped out to bogey the 13th, putted off the green at the 14th and three-putted on 15 before a sand trap claimed his ball on the 16th.
Compatriot Jason Day, another who has been knocking on the door of the majors, shot a disastrous 77 to tie for 33rd at nine over while Geoff Ogilvy shared 44th ahead of fellow Victorian Marcus Fraser (T54) and veteran Peter Senior (T79).
By: Robert Grant