A fatigued Hunter Mahan said he was pleased with his overall play at the Tour Championship on Sunday, despite narrowly failing in his bid to end the week with earnings of $11.4 million.
With the tournament title and season-long FedExCup honours on the line at East Lake Golf Club, American Mahan was beaten at the third hole of a sudden-death playoff by compatriot Bill Haas.
"It was a long, tough day with a lot on the line," Mahan told reporters after his bogey at the par-three 18th was trumped by Haas's two-putt par.
"I couldn't have been happier with how I played, I just couldn't make a putt. I didn't have my first birdie (of the day) until 15, and I had a ton of looks. They were close, too.
"I thought I had one (a birdie) on the second playoff hole and then he hits it out of the water to two feet, so it seemed like he was destined to win this week."
Haas, who like Mahan had not triumphed on the 2011 PGA Tour before this week, conjured a miracle escape from the edge of a water hazard to the left of the green at the par-four 17th, the second extra hole.
With his right foot in water, he hit a stunning third shot, somehow getting his ball to check on the green and end up within three feet of the cup to salvage his par.
TIPPING THE HAT
"If he hits it within 10 feet, it's going to be a hell of a shot and he hit it two feet, so you've got to tip your hat to him," said Mahan, who had held a share of the lead after Saturday's third round.
The leaderboard fluctuated wildly on a sunny Sunday afternoon at East Lake where Mahan forced his way into a playoff after trailing by three shots early on the back nine.
"I'm pretty happy with the way I played this week," said the 29-year-old, who won the biggest title of his career at last year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "I hit a lot of good shots.
"There was a lot on the line, and it's kind of all-or-nothing because I finished seventh in the FedExCup."
Mahan started this week 21st in the standings and needed players ranked above him to finish poorly for him to have a chance to claim the $10 million bonus for the playoff title.
"I don't know if I'll ever be in that position again, but it was fun," he said with a smile after earning $700,000 with his seventh place finish in the standings.
Mahan's sole regret this season was not being to add a further PGA Tour title to his career haul of three.
"I've had nine top-10s this year so it was solid, but it wasn't great," he said. "I had a chance at Pebble (Beach) and just missed out there and I missed out here.
"I may have made more money this year than I ever have, but I didn't win. It's weird. Golf is a funny game like that. If I've learned anything, I can't be really disappointed."