Frustrated Karrie Webb lamented opportunities lost as Japan's Haru Nomura produced two defining birdie bursts in her breakthrough Women's Australian Open victory.
Nomura shot a stellar seven-under 65 at The Grange in Adelaide on Sunday to capture her first LPGA title - she finished 16 under, three strokes clear of world No.1 Lydia Ko.
Australian legend Webb was third, at nine-under. But her bid for a sixth national crown was cruelled by a series of near-misses with the putter.
"It's frustrating," Webb said.
"I wasn't hitting bad putts ... I was hitting good putts, I just had trouble reading the greens all week."
Webb was joint leader after a sizzling Sunday start reaped three birdies in her initial five holes. But she couldn't find another as her putter went cold.
"What I can take from this week is it's the best I have swung it for a long time," she said.
"And I know that the putts are going to drop. So I just have to be patient."
Nomura's triumph was created by two brilliant surges, in the middle and home stretches.
The 23-year-old, born in Kanagawa to a Japanese father and Korean mother, reeled off four birdies in six holes in a streak that started on the par-five fifth.
Defending champion Ko then boldly challenged on the back nine, sneaking within one stroke.
But Nomura responded grandly, firing three consecutive birdies from the 15th hole - and remarkably said she didn't feel the heat applied by Ko.
"There was no pressure," Nomura said.
"Golf is the fight of my own. It's not against someone else, even though someone else plays well. If I hit my goals, then I win."
Hit them, she did. The world No.67 had just 26 putts in the low round of the day which delivered her the $A275,000 winner's cheque and new fans, including New Zealander Ko, who fell short despite her five-under final round.
"I played really well but Haru just played even better," Ko said.
"By the roars I could hear, it seems like she was holing a lot of putts. When another player does that, it's really out of my hands."