SHANE LOWRY had the consolation of achieving two important career goals after the disappointment of missing out on a first major title in the US Open at Chambers Bay.
Lowry went into the final round just three shots off the lead but paid the price for a slow start and eventually carded a closing 71 to finish in a tie for ninth with world number one Rory McIlroy and Australia's Jason Day.
However, the 28-year-old from Offaly gained enough FedEx Cup points to earn special temporary membership of the PGA Tour for the rest of the season, as well as moving back inside the top 50 in the world rankings.
"I feel like I played the golf to really have a chance to win at the end," Lowry said.
"I missed a couple of short putts for par that you can't be doing on days like this.
"I just didn't really do enough.
"If I holed a few more putts I would have had a chance coming in on the last few. But it was a good week for me," he added.
" I'm back inside the top 50 in the world and a few goals have been reached."
Lowry will take the experience of the week into the Open Championship at St Andrew's, with his share of ninth equalling his previous best major finish at Hoylake last year.
"It was a long morning on Sunday," he added.
"I was awake at 7:30 and not teeing off until almost 2:30. You hope to learn from things like today.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my week, to be honest. I loved the golf course, I loved how tough it played. Tends to suit me a lot, tough golf courses.
"Overall I'm pretty pleased at how I played.
"When you walk away from a major championship and you feel like you played the golf to win you've got to be happy with yourself," concluded Lowry.
US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP