Sam Walker found his touch too late on the second day of the 141st Open Championship as he carded a level-par 70.
But, although his first day 76 led to him missing the cut by three shots, the Birmingham golfer still departed Lancashire feeling very positive.
"I've really enjoyed the whole Open experience," he told BBC WM.
"I got off to a bad start yesterday, more through nerves than anything but I've showed what I can do today."
After dropping three shots in his first seven holes, Walker then played the final 11 holes in three under, thanks to three straight birdies between 9 and 11, followed by another on the last, when he had dropped a shot at 15.
"When I played in my previous major in the US Open at Oakmont five years ago, I struggled a bit," admitted 34-year-old Walker.
"But I think this shows how much I've improved as a player.
"I had a lot of great support from my family and friends out there.
"But I'm now really looking forward to the rest of the season.
"I'm tenth on the Challenge Tour money list and, if I can finish top 20, then I will get my European Tour card back and I am convinced I can now compete at this level."