Argentine Andres Romero was "thrilled" with the way he played at the Open despite a late slump that cost him a chance of winning at Carnoustie.
Romero had 10 birdies, two double bogeys and two bogeys on Sunday
Romero held a two shot lead but he double bogeyed the 17th after going out of bounds and then dropped a shot at the last to end up on six under.
"I am pretty emotional despite the finish," he told BBC Sport.
"I am thrilled with the way I played. This is a tournament I have always looked at and wanted to do well in."
Ernie Els, who finished joint fourth, pinpointed the 13th hole as being the one which cost him the chance of victory at Carnoustie.
"I really had a nice start and was hitting the ball nicely, but just around the turn I lost momentum," said the South African.
"At 11 I thought I made that putt, but the ball didn't turn, on 13 it just came up short and I made bogey and then I missed the fairway on 15 and made bogey. The holes coming in are so tough.
That is probably the best I have ever played
"It's hard to be very pleased. I love this championship so much and I had a chance - I did have a chance.
"I was only one shot out of the lead for a good hour or two. So not to finish is kind of difficult. I think if I had made putts I would have been really close."
Australian left hander Richard Green was briefly in contention after posting the early clubhouse lead with a course record-equalling 64.
The 36-year-old fired eight birdies up to the 18th, when a bogey five denied him the outright record and saw him slip back to five under par.
Green gave himself a chance of putting pressure on the leading pack by storming through the field from two over at the start of the day.
"I played great golf - simple as that," he said. "I had a great start with birdies at the second and third and never looked back.
"Considering the wet conditions and the fact that I was not too comfortable in my waterproofs, that is probably the best I have ever played.
To be honest, that's the best I've hit it all year...When you play as well as that on a day like this, it is very very satisfying
"The last thing I wanted was a five at the last, but 64 is still a great round."
Ben Curtis, winner of the Open in 2003, was another man to fly through the field with an impressive round, firing a six-under-par 65 to go three under for the Championship.
This was the first year since his 2003 victory he had made the Open cut, and he was delighted to post a decent clubhouse score.
"To be honest, that's the best I've hit it all year," he told BBC Sport. "When you play as well as that on a day like this, it is very very satisfying.
"It has been tough coming here three years in a row and not making the cut since winning. It just hasn't come together for me since then.
"But today went really well. My approach play was great and I made my putts. I just really enjoyed myself."
KJ Choi claimed his first top-10 finish at the Open after a closing 71.
The Korean, who had been second after two rounds, had three birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to leave him tied for eighth, his best Open result to date.
"It has been a memorable week," he said. "It was a good learning experience.
"To play in this week's tough conditions was good for me. If my putts start to fall in, I can expect a lot of good things here in the future."