Shane Lowry boosted his chances of qualifying automatically for the European Ryder Cup team in September after a strong performance at the 116th US Open Championship.
The three-time European Tour winner led the field by four shots heading into the final round at Oakmont Country Club, but eventually finished in a share for second after 72 holes following a Sunday 76.
As a result, the Irishman closes the gap on Andy Sullivan, who currently occupies the last spot in Darren Clarke’s team through the World Points List.
After his round on Sunday, Lowry conceded that the experience of Sunday in Pittsburgh will make him a stronger player in the long run.
“I always say it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it,” he said. “I’m sure I learned a lot from today and I don’t know what it is yet, but when I’m in that position again, and I know I will be, I’ll handle it probably a little better.”
Although the provisional side for the clash against the United States remains the same as it was prior to the US Open, Sergio Garcia strengthened his grip on an automatic spot after finishing in a tie for fifth on Sunday.
The Spaniard overtook Justin Rose to move into fourth in the World Points List and on course for a spot at Hazeltine in what would be his eighth appearance in the blue of Europe.
Elsewhere, Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood also moved within two spots of the automatic qualification positions after finishing tied 32nd in Pennsylvania.