Four birdies in the final six holes of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on July 7 gave the former English Amateur champion his passport to Royal Portrush.
Three Championship spots were on offer as part of The Open Qualifying Series and although he finished joint seventh that was good enough with four of the players ahead of him already exempt. Qualified as an amateur for Carnoustie in 2007 and a year later was joint 19th at Royal Birkdale.
His next appearance two years ago was thanks to a joint runner-up finish at the Joburg Open. Stood outside the game’s top 700 at the time, but achieved his maiden European Tour victory at last year’s Nordea Masters, beating Thomas Aiken with a par on the first hole of their play-off. Hails from a family with a strong sporting pedigree, his mother Gill having swum for England and his cousin Matthew Smith a former professional tennis player. Back injuries have plagued his career.
He missed large parts of the 2011, 2012 and 2015 seasons and was granted a medical exemption for the 2017 campaign after managing only four events the previous year and just eight in 2015.