HOYLAKE, England -- Sergio Garcia said he was excited from the moment he woke up on Sunday.
He was playing in the penultimate group at Royal Liverpool at The Open Championship. Garcia trailed the leader, Rory McIlroy, by seven strokes but he knew he had a chance to win.
"There's no better feeling," the 34-year-old Spaniard said. "That's why we love doing this. That's what we practice for. It was a great experience."
Garcia did what he needed to do, too, playing the front nine in 3 under and draining an eagle putt at the 10th hole to move within three. And when McIlroy couldn't get up and down from the deep stuff beside the 13th green, the lead was just two.
But the young Northern Irishman turned back the challenges from Garcia and Rickie Fowler, who closed with a 66. McIlroy ended up beating both of them by two, and Sergio had his fourth runner-up finish in 62 majors, second only to Lee Westwood in majors played without a victory.
"It is difficult when you're in a situation where you know you can't make mistakes," Garcia said. "It just puts that little extra pressure.
"(But) so many good things happened throughout this week. And even today I got a couple of really good breaks. It was close. It was close. And I'm proud of the way I played."
Garcia has been playing very well this year, too. He has seven top-10s in 11 starts on the PGA TOUR and Sunday's tie for second was his second straight dating back to the Travelers Championship.
"I think both Rickie and I, we tried to push him a hard as we could," Garcia said. "... There's so many things that have to go right for you to be able to get as close.
"I needed to shoot at least 8 or 9 under (and then) he probably hit driver on the last, and if he hits a good drive, he makes birdie.
"I think that we gave it a good effort and there was someone a little bit better."
Garcia did manage a birdie at the par-5 18th. He says he loves the walk up the fairway and hearing the cheers of the crowd radiate around him. When he came out to accept his award for second place, Garcia applauded the crowd.
"That's a feeling no one can take away from me," Garcia said. "And that's one of the reasons why love this championship."
Garcia says he will draw on his performance as he prepares for the PGA Championship next month at Valhalla.
"All these weeks help in majors and in tournaments, Hartford and Germany a couple of weeks ago and THE PLAYERS and everything," Garcia said. "Even if you don't win, they still help.
"Obviously, there's some negative things and obviously, my bogey at 15 is not nice. But I try to look at the positives. And there's always a lot more positives than negatives and that to me, that's where I want to take it.
Sergio Garcia eagles No. 10 at The Open