Rory McIlroy was left cursing his luck after finishing in joint- third place at The Open.
The highly-rated young Ulsterman had looked on course for a first Major after carding a staggering 63 in the first round.
Bookies were taking bets as to the Holywood lad becoming the youngest Open champion for 117 years — and at the ‘home of golf’ to boot.
But a disastrous day two of the competition saw strong winds literally blow his chances away as he posted a round of 80 — 17 shots worse than his record-equalling round of the previous day.
Rory was back to something approaching his best in the last 36 holes, but it was too little, too late for glory at St Andrews.
He later described this Major as “the one I let get away.” Fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell finished tied for 23rd place with an out-of-form Tiger Woods.
But it has been a great season for the 30-year-old Portrush man after winning both the US Open and the Celtic Manor Wales Open.
McDowell, who five years ago considered putting away his clubs for good, said: “I’m 31 in a couple of weeks’ time and I feel like I have my best days ahead of me.
“I’ve got some big goals I want to achieve.”
With his first professional win back in 1993, Darren Clarke’s years of expertise stood him in good stead to put in a solid performance in Scotland, ending up 44th.
Having narrowly missed out earlier this month to Edoardo Molinari at the Scottish Open, Clarke is climbing back up the ranks but his hopes of a Ryder Cup place this autumn look to be in the bunker.