Darren Clarke gave himself a lift ahead of the Irish Open by shooting a six-under 66 in the final round of the PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.
The 46-year-old Northern Irishman, Europe's Ryder Cup captain for 2016, finished on two under par and in a share of 38th place.
Graeme McDowell ended the tournament on two over par after a closing 73.
"It has been coming but it is the first time I have taken it on to the course for a while," said Clarke afterwards.
World number 132 Byeong-hun An, of South Korea won the tournament by six shots from Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Clarke fired five birdies in the opening 12 holes before dropping his first shot of the day at the short 14th.
He took advantage of the closing par-fives with two birdie fours securing a two-under final aggregate of 286.
The 2011 Open champion was named Ryder Cup captain in February, succeeding Irishman Paul McGinley, but his form had been scratchy since his appointment.
Clarke's best finish on the European Tour this season was a tie for 15th at the Tshwane Open in South Africa in March.
He will have extra incentive to do well with his home crowd behind him when he tees up on Thursday in the Irish Open first round at Royal County Down, a tournament hosted by world number one Rory McIlroy's charitable foundation.
Among the other leading players taking part next week are Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood, Ernie Els, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.