Tiger Woods finished with a flourish, but six birdies in his last 12 holes at Pebble Beach on Sunday came far too late to make much difference at the 119th US Open.
The 15-time major champion, who came into the final round at even par, 11 shots off the lead, looked headed for another tough day when he posted four bogeys in his first six holes.
The man who won the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by a stunning 15 strokes said he didn't really know what finally clicked.
"I wish I would have known because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that," Woods said.
"Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off.
"Turned back around and got it to under par for the week," added Woods, noting that usually that was pretty useful at the US Open, but with Gary Woodland leading at 11-under not much help this time.
As in the earlier rounds, Woods was unable to take advantage of Pebble Beach's most generous scoring holes, the first through seventh.
Woods cut a dejected figure after his bogey at the sixth, but things began to change when he drained an 18-foot birdie at the par-three seventh.
He stuck his approach five feet from the pin for a birdie at eight, and rolled in a 40-footer at 13 to the delight of the massive gallery following him.
A birdie at 16 moved Woods under par for the tournament, and he polished off his week with a birdie at the last.
That let the 43-year-old superstar, who captured his 15th major title at the Masters in April but missed the cut in last month's PGA Championship, depart with a better taste in his mouth.
"Just because I got off to a bad start doesn't mean it's over," Woods said. "Keep grinding, keep playing. And I was able to turn my round around today as well as yesterday.
"So rounds that could have easily slipped away and kind of gone the other way pretty easily I was able to turnaround."
Woods said he would take a few weeks off before ramping up his preparations for the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland July 18-21.
"I'm looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure out," Woods said of the course he's not familiar with. "I hope that my practice rounds are such that we get different winds, especially on a golf course that I've never played, and to get a different feel how it could play for the week. Definitely have to do my homework once I get there."