A joint best-of-the-day closing 66 in the Emirates Australian Open in November took McLeod into third place and gave him the last of the three Royal Portrush places up for grabs in the opening leg of The Open Qualifying Series.
It came a week after he won the New South Wales Open, which included a third-round 62 and so in a fortnight he had improved his world ranking from 437th to just outside the top 150.
Also in 2018 he tied for second at the Asian Tour’s Royal Cup and had two more top-six finishes, while his joint runner-up spot in the 2017 Victoria Open – behind fellow Open qualifier Dimitrios Papadatos – contained a second-round 61.
“I’m absolutely stoked right now - to qualify for The Open is unreal,” he said.
“It’s going to be special to play in my first major, especially in Northern Ireland as I’ve never been there before. I’ve wanted to play in majors like The Open ever since I was a little kid and I’m nervous already.”
Yet to win on his home tour, losing a play-off for the 2016 South Pacific Open to Adam Blyth at the third extra hole.