A bogey-free closing 66 enabled Nagano, ranked 1,010th in the world at the time, to climb from joint fifth into solo second behind Juvic Pagunsan at May’s Mizuno Open, where two places at Royal St George’s were up for grabs.
Nagano only had one bogey throughout an event reduced to 54 holes because of early weather delays. It enabled him to match his best-ever finish on the Japan Tour and clinch a first start in The Open.
“I am just so honoured to be able to participate in such a legendary tournament,” he said.
A professional since 2008, the Kumamoto player’s first near-miss on his home circuit was in 2014 when he was part of a five-way tie for second two strokes behind Satoshi Kodaira at the Dunlop Srixon Fukushima Open.
Two years later he was a runner-up again at the JGT Championship, although on that occasion he was five shots adrift of Liang Wen-chong, and then in 2017 he was only one away from a play-off at the Mynavi ABC Championship. That was another three-round affair and Nagano was pipped by Tatsuya Kodai.