The 30-year-old Englishman Tommy Fleetwood had played alongside Shane Lowry in the final group two years ago in Northern Ireland and claimed his second runners-up finish in a major after ending up six shots behind the Irishman.
However, Fleetwood, who also finished second in the 2018 US Open, knows it could have been a different story if he had taken full advantage of a shaky start by his playing partner after he started the day four off the lead.
But after Lowry holed from eight feet for bogey on the first, Fleetwood missed from slightly closer for a birdie and a two-shot swing which would have halved his overnight deficit.
Then a bogey on the third by Fleetwood and then two Lowry birdies quickly left the Englishman with too much to do and he went on to card a three-over 74, with Lowry signing for a 72.
“The first thing Padraig Harrington said to me when I walked off was that you have to learn to lose them before you can win them,” Fleetwood said. “It didn’t feel particularly great at the time but it makes complete sense.
“I was stood there on the first tee on Sunday and I played that whole day in the final group. You can’t buy that, you can’t practice that, and when you do get there again you are that little bit more comfortable and you have got that knowledge of what it was like.
“I would like to be there all the time and if you put yourself in those positions often enough, law of averages says you should knock at least one off. Portrush might be the closest I ever get. It would be disappointing in one sense, but at the same time I would look back at it as one of the fondest moments of my career.
“If I broke my leg tomorrow and never hit another golf shot, I would look back at it and think I was playing on Sunday and that was my dream when I was a kid and I was really, really close. It hurt at the time but I would love to do it again. If I fail, I fail, but if I keep doing it I’ll succeed at some point.”