GUTTED Marc Warren today hit back at claims he choked to blow his chances of glory in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Glaswegian Warren led the £2.5million European Tour event by THREE SHOTS at one stage in the final round.
However, he played the last four holes in four-over-par, and that allowed Jeev Milka Singh of India to take the title after a play-off with Francesco Molinari.
The 31-year-old double bogeyed the 15th, bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes – and then missed a birdie putt to get into a play-off on the final green.
But the Rutherglen man has dismissed calls he bottled the chance to land the biggest win of his professional career.
He said: "I played flawless golf up until the last four holes. I didn't see any other outcome.
"I was tied going into the back nine and I started birdie, birdie, birdie. What happened after that was a bit of a shock to the system. I definitely wouldn't say it was a mental loss. I have won on tour before, I know what it takes to win. What happened was just unfortunate.
"If I felt I got in my own way, didn't let myself hit the shots I needed to, then I would be honest enough to admit it. But, hand on heart, I didn't. It never happened that way.
"I was surprised how calm I was. I have been in contention before and I know how nervous you can get in that situation. But I felt under control.
"I think the way I played golf over the weekend shows that what I need to do to win is there and I can go forward with confidence.
"It is definitely very disappointing, but it won't haunt me. There are more important things in life than a golf tournament.
"It was a long drive back to Glasgow last night, that was for sure. Hopefully, I will be in the same position soon and I will finish off better next time."
Warren's agony was compounded when the spot available in this week's Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes went to winner Singh.
One place in the game's greatest event was up for grabs in the Highlands to the highest-placed player not otherwise qualified in the top five.
Singh, who birdied the first hole of a sudden-death play-off with rival Molinari to triumph, pipped the Scot to it.
Warren groaned: "Jeev is a worldwide player and I expect him to be in the Open. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't.
"Watching the Open on TV this week is going to be difficult knowing that I had the chance to be there in my own hands. It was up to me to finish it off and I didn't do that."
Warren, who reclaimed his European Tour card last year, pocketed a cheque for £140,750 for his third-placed finish outside Inverness.
His showing propelled him to 41st place on the European Tour Race to Dubai standings with earnings this season of £319,292.