Rory McIlroy blamed his failure on Augusta's par fives this week as the reason he failed to challenge eventual winner Bubba Watson, as another opportunity to claim his first Green Jacket disappeared over the weekend.
The Northern Irishman finished in a tie for eighth alongside five others at even par - his best finish to date in Georgia.
However, with his driving the best it's ever been and a drama-free back nine for the first time in what seems an eternity at Augusta, there was sense of 'what if' amongst fans of the world number seven.
Heading to the 13th just six back of Watson, McIlroy bombed a huge drive over the trees on the left-hand side to leave himself just a nine iron into the par five of Amen Corner. His approach finding Rae's Creek - and his reaction that followed - signalled the end of his challenge for another year, and typified the kind of week it's been for the two-time major winner.
He told reporters afterwards: "I finished even par for the tournament and even par on the par fives. It's not really good enough. I guess the leaders would play those holes to around 10-under par."
436 of the 874 birdies this week were made on the gettable par fives, making it difficult to contend if you weren't making the most of them. Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood both faltered on the longer holes of Augusta and, thus, failed to really exert any pressure on the leaders.
However, with McIlroy claiming to be driving the ball better than he ever has done, as well as the fact he ranked third in finding greens in regulation this week suggests he will be left to rue his failure to make the most of his enormous length.
He will simply have to look at the now two-time Masters champion Watson's example, who proved just how vital length off the tee is if you are to win a Green Jacket - he's now won two of them with the most unconventional swing ever seen on the PGA Tour.
The combination of long driving and consistent putting are key to winning the Masters, attributes McIlroy himself undoubtedly possesses, but his putting was below par for the entirety this week.
The former US Open and US PGA champion added: "This course teases you, and then takes it away from you. I played well, I drove the ball as well as I have ever done.
"I'm just not holing the putts I need to or should."
McIlroy will certainly find solace in the fact it was his best ever Masters finish, a sure sign that he was right to claim pre-tournament he was in the best shape he'd ever been heading to Augusta.
People tend to forget McIlroy is just 24, and that more and more opportunities in major championships will come his way. This week was one he missed, but he will win a Green Jacket one day. One day. Just not yesterday.
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