The 23-year-old former English amateur international from Kenwick Park in Lincolnshire came through Final Qualifying for the second year running, shooting five under par at Notts Hollinwell before beating David Coupland at the third hole of a play-off to take the third and final spot on offer there.
He was ranked 2,066th in the world at the time. Last year, ranked 1,929th, he was four shots off the pace after a level par opening round of 72 on the same course, but then stormed through the field with a 66 that included three birdies and an eagle in his last five holes.
It gave him top spot by three from former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson. .His one previous European Tour appearance was the Sicilian Open three months earlier.