Harry Ellis is convinced he belongs at golf’s top table.
And the Meon Valley talent cannot wait to set about qualifying for his second Open after missing the cut at Royal Birkdale.
Ellis, 21, improved on his first-round score by two shots.
But with a 68 the only score likely to get him into the third-round draw – and keep alive his hopes of winning the Silver Medal for leading amateur – his 75 fell a long way short.
The British amateur champion now looks forward to a trip to Los Angeles for the US Amateur at Riveria next month.
And he insists he will take with him plenty of positives from his Open bow.
Ellis said: ‘I had a good look around, I took it all in.
‘It’s one of the things when you are playing in this for the first time – the combination of not taking as much in and carrying on playing the golf course.
‘But also you have got to get the full experience as well.
‘I will remember playing the first tee shot and coming up 18 at the end of my second round.
‘I could not quite make that birdie to go out with after hitting a good shot in – but I really feel I belong out there.
‘There are plenty of opportunities ahead – this is the first professional event in a first Major.
‘You’ve got to take the most from it and I feel like my game is there.
‘I did not hit it as well as I have in recent weeks but I am already looking forward to taking some time off with the girlfriend and then heading back to America for a big month ahead.’
It looked ominous for Ellis after back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth – and sixth and seventh.
Even when a birdie at the eighth gave a glimmer of hope, he gave the shot straight back after mixing with a greenside trap on the ninth and squirting his sand shot 30 feet across the green from a poor lie.
At one point, play was suspended for 15 minutes when torrential rain flooded the 12th green.
A four after more bunker trouble on the par three 14th meant Ellis had to cash in on the two par fives.
But he found a poor lie just to the right of the fairway traps on the 15th.
His brilliant recovery shot needed to be a foot to the right but ended up in the sand again – just as the Florida State University student was looking at an eagle putt from inside 15 feet on the 542-yard hole.
Another booming drive on the 16th failed to bring any reward and he could only play the penultimate hole – which measured 567 yards and was down wind – in par.
Meanwhile, Scott Gregory was tied fourth in the Europro Tour Cobra Puma Golf Championship at Machynys Peninsula Golf Club, in South Wales.
The Corhampton talent added a 73 to his opening rounds of 65 and 74.