Paul Dunne agonisingly missed out of the Trophee Hassan II trophy, but says being in contention in Morocco is a step in the right direction.
Italy's Edoardo Molinari claimed his first European Tour title since 2010 by beating the Wicklow man on the first play-off hole.
Dunne led by two shots going into the final round at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam and went three clear during the front nine, only to be pegged back by Molinari and England’s Paul Waring, who finished third on eight under after carding four birdies and a bogey in his final-round 70.
The Italian stormed into contention with two eagles in his last seven holes to set the clubhouse target of nine under par, which Dunne was able to match with a birdie on the last.
"I felt like there were just so many shots that slipped away from me. It's just one of those days"
The players returned to the 18th for sudden death and a scrappy par was good enough to give Molinari the win after Dunne found trouble off the tee and failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
The 24-year-old carded two bogeys on the front nine, but missed par putts at 11 and 15 led the challengers back into it.
"I felt like there were just so many shots that slipped away from me. It's just one of those days," he said afterwards.
"I'm just a bit disappointed not to come out with the result we wanted but it's a step in the right direction"
"I felt like I was really close to shooting four or five under and stuck with one under in the end."
For the player ranked 241st in the world, it is a tangible sign of progress on the European Tour and he is already looking forward to the upcoming Shenzhen International in China.
"I'm happy with my form and looking forward to next week," he said.
"I'm just a bit disappointed not to come out with the result we wanted but it's a step in the right direction."