Scotland: Rory McIlroy was left to reflect on a case of what might have been after a rousing five-birdie 68 in the final round on Sunday and a share of third place at the British Open.
The 21-year-old Briton started the championship like a greyhound released from the traps, tying the lowest round for a major with a course record 63 on Thursday.
A day later though McIlroy ballooned to an eight-over 80, blown away by the 40mph gusts and stair-rod rain that circled St Andrews like a golfing typhoon.
“I couldn’t help but think about Friday going up the last hole there,” McIlroy told reporters after finishing on eight-under 280, eight strokes behind winner Louis Oosthuizen.
“If I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story.
“The other three rounds I played very, very solidly. After that 80 I felt as if I came back well by shooting seven under at the weekend,” added McIlroy.
The young Northern Irishman admitted he was completely unprepared for the fate that befell him in the second round.
“I think if I had a day leading up to this event in the week that was as windy as that and actually went out and practised in it, I probably could have handled it a bit better,” said McIlroy.
“But I hadn’t played in wind like that for a long time so it was a bit of a new experience. It’s a pity about Friday.”
McIlroy said he would not allow it to scar the rest of his season.
“It’s not going to give me nightmares,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll wake up in the morning and just look at -- I was 16 under for three rounds of golf around St Andrews in the Open.”