OPPORTUNITY knocked for Padraig Harrington at the Riviera Country Club but, for the second weekend in succession on America's West Coast, the Dubliner was unable to answer.
Harrington's prospects of a first victory on US soil since his 2008 US PGA Championship expired with a lacklustre four-over-par 75 in Saturday's third round.
So the Dubliner was playing only for pride and to improve his position on the lower half of the leaderboard at the Northern Trust Open yesterday afternoon.
Yet even that modest ambition was hardly satisfied as Harrington packed up with a ragged one-over-par 72 (to finish on two-over) before heading into the Arizona desert for this week's Accenture Match Play World Golf Championship on Dove Mountain.
His stellar short game had propelled Harrington through a severe rainstorm to within five strokes of the lead on Friday, but his chipping and putting became as inconsistent as the rest of his repertoire at the weekend.
Though he landed sweet birdies at his fourth and sixth holes, the par-four 13th and 15th, he then dropped four shots in five holes through the turn.
Two more birdies at the testing par-three sixth and straightforward seventh were then followed by a sloppy bogey at eight after he had hit his 160-yard approach over the green.
As Ireland's three-time Major champion fumbled, Phil Mickelson (68), Paul Casey (68), Jhonattan Vegas (66), JJ Henry (66) and Harrington's opponent in Wednesday's Match Play first round, Geoff Ogilvy (69), were all dipping below par.
Henrik Stenson, winner of the Accenture title in 2007, squeezed into the match play draw yesterday as a last-ditch replacement for injured Toru Taniguchi of Japan. The Swede will face Lee Westwood in Wednesday's first round.
Elsewhere, India's SSP Chowrasia edged out Robert Coles to secure a fairytale home victory in the European Tour Avantha Masters in New Delhi. Chowrasia won by one shot in an exciting finish, shooting a final-round 67 to finish on 15-under par.