MARTIN LAIRD gave his hopes of a Ryder Cup debut in September a huge boost with a joint second-place finish at the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
The Scot came close to pulling off a stunning victory having started the final day six behind.
But a bogey on the last by the 29-year-old Glaswegian for a round of 67 left American Matt Kuchar two in front with four holes to play, and the world No.16 did not let things slip.
The gap became three when he got up and down from off the green at the long 16th and, after three-putting the short 17th for bogey, Kuchar safely parred the dangerous last.
Laird, who tied with Zach Johnson, Ben Curtis and Rickie Fowler, said: "I'm very happy with how I played. That was one of the best rounds I've ever played under the circumstances, and the conditions.
"It is my best finish in a big, big event like the Players, and if I can't take confidence in that, then I'm doing something wrong."
Laird will seek to give his cup chances another push in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next week.
GRAND PRIX: Pastor Maldonado ended Williams' long wait for a Formula One victory by taking a historic chequered flag in the Spanish GP in Barcelona.
Within a month of founder Sir Frank Williams' 70th birthday, this was the team's first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, 132 races ago.
Maldonado became the first Venezuelan winner, finishing just 3.1secs ahead of home favourite Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.
Behind the leading duo Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus was a close-run third, running out of laps come the conclusion.
Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel was sixth, despite four trips to the pits.
Lewis Hamilton finished eighth in his McLaren, one place ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.
Vettel leads the drivers' cham-pionship on countback from Alonso. Scotland's Paul Di Resta finished 14th for Force India.