Came through the 36-hole Final Qualifying event at St Annes Old Links for the second year running, both times after the disappointment of not quite claiming the Open Championship place on offer through the Amateur Championship.
Last season, the left-hander reached the quarter-finals at Nairn before losing to eventual winner Laird Shepherd – and that from three up after six holes – and this June at Royal Lytham and St Annes he got all the way to the 36-hole final.
He had next year’s Masters in sight as well as St Andrews, but lost to 17-year-old South African Aldrich Potgieter, whose amateur world ranking was 140th compared to his own 19th.
Seven down after 12 holes, Bairstow hit back to trail by only two with four to go, but lost 3&2.
Second in the Final Qualifier last year on 12 under par – he started with a course record 63 then - this time he shared top spot on eight under with DP World Tour winner Marcus Armitage.
Last year’s English stroke play champion said: “I’ve played the Links Trophy three times at the Old Course. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ve never shot over par there.”