Hamilton professional Steve Alker has finished in a share of 19th place at the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes after carding a one over par 71 in tough conditions in the final round overnight.
The 40-year-old carded rounds of 69, 69, 72 and 71 at the historic links to secure his first top-20 finish in a major championship and earn $102,000 (NZD).
The Kiwi pro finished eight shots back from South African Ernie Els who won the Open for a second time after Australian Adam Scott imploded on the closing stretch in search of his maiden major title.
The 32-year-old Aussie, who held a four shot lead with four holes to play, bogeyed the final four holes at Lytham to lose by one shot and gift away his best chance of winning a major.
It was a finish that stirred memories of Scott's golfing idol Greg Norman's collapse at The Masters in 1996 when he lead by six shots heading into the final round and lost to England's Nick Faldo by five.
It will be a finish that Scott will want to quickly forget, while Kiwi Alker will leave Lytham with plenty of good memories of the first time he made a cut in a major.
In the final round, he played the front nine in one over after dropping a shot at the second. On the back nine he traded two birdies with two bogeys as he came home in even par for a one-over par round.
Alker was nine places off his goal of finishing inside the top 10 at the championship which would have secured him a place at the 2013 Open at Muirfield.
He will return to the web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide Tour) looking to improve on his 67th place on the Order of Merit.
The top 25 players on the Nationwide Tour automatically qualify for the PGA Tour in 2013.
The former New Zealand PGA Champion showed that he is capable of competing with the world's best players and will look to take that mind set into the rest of 2012.
Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour New Zealand No 1 Danny Lee missed the cut at the True South Classic by three shots after rounds of 74 and 70 at the Annandale Golf Club in Mississippi.
Lee, who is projected to drop to 150 on the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs Order of Merit, needs good results in the next few weeks to get inside the top 125 and qualify for the Barclays on August 21-26.
Fellow Kiwi professional Grant Waite, in his first appearance on the PGA Tour in 2012, shot rounds of 69 and 73 to miss the cut by one shot.