Robert Rock was a very frustrated man at Carton House 11 days ago when he discovered that his excellent fifth-place finish at the Nissan Irish Open had not earned him an automatic invite to last week's European Tour showpiece at Wentworth.
Instead, Rock was left a frustrated onlooker as a star cast assembled without him for Europe's second-biggest event of the summer, the BMW Championship.
But he partially made up for it yesterday when he returned to action here at the Wales Open with an encour-aging two-under-par 67 that leaves him comfortably on course for a decent finish this week.
Admittedly, he trails over-night leader Phillip Archer by seven shots after the man from Warrington shot the round of a lifetime, a nine-under 60 which was so close to being a 59 when his birdie putt lipped out at the 18th hole.
Robert Karlsson carded a 61, two shots better than back-to-form Colin Montgomerie and Frenchman Francois Delamontagne on six-under.
Rock is also in arrears of the Midlands' top golfer Paul Broadhurst, who returned to somewhere near his best form with a five-under 64. But it was still a solid effort from the young man who made his name at Lichfield's Swingers Golf Centre, even if it clearly did not make up for last week's letdown.
"I was expecting to play at Wentworth after finishing in the top five in Ireland," said Rock, now tied to The Belfry. "It was really disappointing when I didn't, not just because it's big money, but because it's my favourite event of the year by miles.
"It turned out it was only the winner that got in. Usually, getting top ten at any event gets you into the next one, but instead it carried forward to this week, for which I'd already got an invite.
"That meant I missed out on two counts, as I'd finished fourth in our region last year and only the top three got to play at Wentworth."
Rock's frustration at not being allowed to maintain his forward momentum initially looked costly when he dropped shots at the first and again at the sixth. But birdies at the seventh and ninth had him back to level at the turn and three more on the back nine followed, at the 12th, 13th and 16th, to make up for his one further dropped shot at the 14th.
"It was perfect conditions out there," said Rock. "But, after being two-over early on, I've got to be pleased with two-under.
"I bogeyed the 14th from the middle of the fairway and I had to scramble a par at the last, but the rest was all right."
On a day when key Ryder Cup player Montgomerie returned to form with a 63, his European team vice-captain Peter Baker was the other Midlander in red figures, also after a bad start.
"I had a very early tee-off, it was really chilly and I never really got going," said Baker, currently struggling for regular invites as he looks to win back his Tour card.
"I missed a four-footer for birdie at the second, then made a bogey at the par five which is really a birdie hole, so that was a bad start, but I kept my patience, with a good finish which got me out of a spot of bother, with birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th.
"I have to admit I'm finding it hard trying to get into a rhythm. It's tricky when I'm never sure what I'm going to be doing from one week to the next but I had a good week at home practising last week and it's just pleasing to be back under the card."
Less pleased with their day's efforts were Warwick-shire duo Steve Webster and Tom Whitehouse.
After a three-over 72, capped by him driving out of bounds at the 18th for the last of six bogeys, Webster admitted playing his sixth event in as many weeks had just caught up with him.
"Six tournaments on the trot is too much," he said. "I was running on fumes out there. This is a good little tournament, it's a course that normally suits me and I really wanted to play this week, especially as it's 'local-ish' but I was hitting shots I'd never normally hit.
"Now I'm going to have to shoot a low one to stay in; if I've got the energy to lift the club tomorrow morning, that is."
As for Whitehouse, two double-bogeys on his front nine, the first thanks to an unlucky kick, helped take him to the turn in 40. Despite playing better coming home, his continued failure to make any putts saw him card a six-over 75.
Kenilworth's Mark Mouland also needs to improve today after a two-over 71.