When it comes to Open Championship qualifying, Sam Locke is becoming a bit of a dab hand at this nail-nibbling, mind mangling process.

A year ago as an amateur, the young Aberdonian came through the 36-hole shoot-out for the showpiece at Carnoustie and went on to win the silver medal as the leading player from the unpaid ranks.

Now a professional, the 20-year-old earned another crack at golf’s oldest major as he held his nerve again at Fairmont St Andrews to book a tee-time for Royal Portrush with a six-under 134 after a 69 and a 67.

On a good day for the Scots on the outskirts of the Auld Grey Toun, Fife’s Connor Syme also claimed one of just three Open places on offer with a pair of 67s which left him second behind the highly-rated US amateur, Brandon Wu, who topped the order on nine-under.

Locke’s mentor, Paul Lawrie, famously came through final qualifying 20 years ago and won the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999.

“Well, wouldn’t that be a story,” said Locke with a chuckle when mischievously asked about emulating that feat. The golf writers really need to behave themselves.

Having put himself in the early mix with that opening 69, Locke began his second round from the 10th tee and was immediately on the back foot with a wayward drive.

“As soon as I hit it, I thought it was a lost ball,” he said. Fortunately, it wasn’t and Locke mounted a fine salvage operation from the rough to save his par.

The significance of that moment was heightened on the next hole when he flighted a 7-iron into six feet and made an eagle. “It shows what momentum can do in this game,” he said of those key moments.

With the tension mounting, Locke needed to make another cracking up-and-down from over a wall on his last hole to confirm his qualification.

Lawrie missed last year’s Open due to injury but, all being well, he’ll get to enjoy the 20th anniversary of his win in the company of his young protégé.

“I knew I wasn’t far away from doing something good this season and thankfully I picked the right day to do it,” added Locke of a topsy-turvy year.

Syme, who reached the semi-finals of the Amateur Championship at Portrush in 2014, survived something of an international incident to secure his second Open appearance in three years.

Syme objected to distracting noises being made by Spanish playing partner Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra’s caddie.

“It was a heated discussion but I don’t want it to overshadow a very good day,” said Syme. “We spoke at the end and were were fine. I was just pleased I didn’t let it affect me.”