Colin Osborne says Phil Taylor was just too good after losing to the 14-time world champion in the final of the UK Open at Bolton's Reebok Stadium.
But the Middlesbrough-born Derby-based star said he is proud of his achievement in reaching the final.
"Phil is the level that I have to get to," Osborne, 33, said after his 11-6 defeat on Sunday night.
"You have to play your best - not to win it but to be with him - and unfortunately he was too good."
Taylor, who wrapped up his third UK Open title, paid tribute to Osborne.
"He's a great player and has lot of finals ahead of him," Taylor said.
"His talent is fantastic but he went a little bit during the middle session and I picked up on that and stepped in."