Rickie Fowler was humble in the aftermath of his third top-five finish at a Major this season admitting Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy "played awesome" - but admitted he had some catching up to do with his fellow 25-year-old.
After finishing runner-up alongside to Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst last month, a tournament the German eventually ran away by eight strokes, Fowler once again proved he is moving in the right direction at Royal Liverpool with another second-place finish alongside Sergio Garcia.
He also secured fifth spot at the Masters in April, meaning he became the the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2005 to finish in the top five in the opening three Majors of the season - an achievement that has not gone unnoticed.
Plenty more to come
"It's hard to be disappointed," he told reporters following Sunday's engrossing climax. "It's kind of similar to being one the only guys at the U.S. Open to be under par, and still not win.
"It feels like I should be here. I'm definitely pleased with it. There's plenty more to come. I'll take 15-under par in a lot of Majors and sit there and wait in the clubhouse."
At 25 years old, the American has an abundance of time left in his golfing career and will almost certainly win Majors at some point. However, Sunday's Open winner McIlroy is also the same age - and is just a Green Jacket at Augusta away from completing the career Grand Slam.
While Fowler - McIlroy's playing partner on Sunday - was congratulatory of his former Walker Cup opponent's achievement, he is eager to start catching up on the triple-Major champion.
"Congratulations to Rory - he played awesome. And it was kind of fun to just throw a few shots at him coming in. To see him win was pretty cool.
"He is obviously doing well with three Majors now. I definitely have some catching up to - but I am getting closer. It's been fun to be in contention for the Majors this year," he added.
In spite of his strong finishes in golf's most prestigious events throughout 2014, Fowler still only has a single PGA Tour victory to his name; the 2012 Wells Fargo championship at Quail Hollow, where, ironically, he defeated McIlroy in a playoff.
While he does not have "any doubt" the Northern Irishman will complete the career Grand Slam with a Masters win at some point, Fowler is hoping to repeat his heroics of two years ago by beating McIlroy to the punch at Augusta.
"I really don't have any doubt that he will win there, but it would be nice if I can get him first there," he said.
"It's hard to say that there's really any course that doesn't suit him when he's on his game. And I've seen him play very well there. It's just a matter of time."
As Fowler reflected upon his Open near-miss, he found solace in the fact that he secured yet another windfall of Ryder Cup points that all-but secure him a place on Tom Watson's US team for Gleneagles.
He took to his Twitter account post-round, simply tweeting '#RyderCup!!!!', clearly excited at the prospect of returning to golf's hotly anticipated continental match-up following his absence in 2012.
He made his debut at Celtic Manor four years ago, and after finishing runner-up to a European in the last two Majors as well as having to suffer the agony of two single-point defeats in the competition in the last two outings, the American youngster will be seeking revenge in Scotland this autumn.
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