New Zealand No 1 Danny Lee enjoyed a top 15 finish at the Sony Open after carding a one under par 69 in the final round at the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii today.
The 22-year-old Rotorua professional, who won the pre-qualifying tournament with a seven under par 65, finished in a share of 13th place, 11 shots back from champion American Russell Hanley, who won in his first event on the PGA Tour.
Lee, the former World No 1 amateur who suffered the heartache of missing qualifying for a full card on the PGA Tour by one shot in 2012, was back to his best on the big stage this week in Honolulu.
He had three consecutive rounds of four under par 66 in the first event of the 2013 season as he made a run at his first PGA Tour win.
The former US Amateur Champion was looking to make a fast start today. He birdied the second hole to get within five shots of the leaders before making a costly double bogey on the fourth.
But he rallied coming home with birdies on nine, 12 and 13 to get to two under for the day before dropping a shot at the par four 17th.
Lee needed to win to get back on the PGA Tour - had he won he would have earned an exemption for 2013 and the following two years.
But any results and money made on the main tour will promote his chances of returning to the PGA Tour in 2014 where he needs to finish inside the top 125 players on the money list.
He needs to make the most of every start he can muster on the PGA Tour through pre-qualifying and tournament invites he receives and has performed well in his first effort for 2013.
Fellow Kiwi Steve Alker, who also reached the event through qualifying, missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 68.