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Romero's wild ride ends in third-place result

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- It was a remarkable round of golf. Remarkable for its brilliance. Remarkable, too, for its despair.

Andres Romero made 10 birdies at Carnoustie Golf Links on Sunday, the kind of play that could have led to one of the legendary rounds in the game's history.

But he also made two backbreaking double-bogeys and a bogey at the home hole that cost him a spot in a playoff at the 136th British Open.

"The pressure certainly caught up with me and the pressure of the last two holes of such a big event," said Romero, 26, a second-year player on the European Tour who was bidding to join Angel Cabrera as consecutive major championship winners from Argentina.

To see his 4-under 67 on the leaderboard -- a score that landed him in third place -- certainly does not do the score justice.

From the 10th to the 16th holes, Romero made six birdies. The other was a double-bogey at the 12th, just moments after he had tied Sergio Garcia for the lead. Romero's second shot flew into a gorse bush and was unplayable.

He rebounded to make four straight birdies, grabbing sole possession of the lead after making a 20-foot putt on 16. But further doom and gloom came in the form of another double at the 17th, as his second shot from the rough flew directly into the burn, bounced well to the right, then ricocheted off a bridge and out of bounds beyond the 18th tee. The shot was inches from being good enough to make par or bogey, but turned unfortunate when it clanged out of bounds.

"I was aware I was leading," he said. "I hit a 2-iron as the second shot. I wasn't certain what club I wanted to play; perhaps that was my mistake. I was doubting between a wood and an iron. The second time around, I did it the way I should. I hit the right club."

Romero then hit a good drive at 18, but missed the green to the left and failed to get up and down for the par that -- as it turned out -- would have put him in the playoff with Garcia and Padraig Harrington, who went on to win.

"Unfortunately, everyone is going to remember the double at 17 rather than the previous six birdies in seven holes," playing partner Jim Furyk said. "It was pretty incredible golf. It was a little bit of feast or famine out there for him. But that's links golf. He's got a lot of game."

Afterward, Romero was asked whether he was aware of what happened to Jean Van de Velde at the end of the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, where he made a 7 on the final hole to fall into a playoff, which he lost.

"There's one advantage; I did it on 17, not 18," Romero said. "But I could be put into that category by some. I certainly wasn't thinking of Van de Velde at that moment. I was very concentrated and what happened, unfortunately, it ended with a double-bogey and a bogey."

Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.