Colin Montgomerie was a relieved man after qualifying for The Open for the first time since 2010 by coming through a 36-hole final qualifier at Gailes Links to secure a spot at Royal Troon.
The 53-year-old former Ryder Cup captain and eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner shot rounds of 66 and 71 to secure a third-place finish, with Sweden's Oskar Arvidsson, ranked 1418 in the world, leading the way after carding 64 and 68 for 10 under par.
Montgomerie had to wait for his place to be confirmed, as Jack Doherty made a late move up the leaderboard to five under with six holes to play, only for the 34-year-old Scot to bogey the 15th and miss out on the year's third major championship.
"It means the world to me, sure it does, and I look forward to playing and am delighted to do so", Montgomerie said in an interview posted on The Open's official Twitter feed.
"I had an opportunity at the Senior Open when I was two ahead with eight to go and didn't win, and then of course you think you have blown the thing.
"But it was nice to come here with 72 players, a high-quality field and to finish third, which is all one has to do."
Montgomerie, who qualified for 21 consecutive Opens from 1992-2010 and finished as a runner-up three times, will return to the Ayrshire course where his father was club secretary and he is now an honorary member.
Scott Fernandez of Spain also qualified, finishing second after six birdies in a second-round 66 helped him finish second, four shots behind Arvidsson.
At Woburn, Irishman Paul Dunne booked his place with rounds of 68 and 67 for nine-under par. Dunne, 23, was still an amateur when he shared the lead with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen going into the final round of the 2015 Open at St Andrews, only to fall out of contention following a final-day 78.
Ryan Evans will also head to Troon after finishing second with two rounds of 68 for eight under, along with fellow Englishman Robert Rock, who beat Aaron Rai in a play-off after both men finished at seven under.
Matthew Southgate finished six under par to win at Royal Cinque Ports.
Jack Senior qualified from Hillside after coming home in 32 to finish three shots clear. There were five players who tied for second place at two under, which forced a play-off that Paul Howard and Dave Coupland prevailed in.
Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner, has been added to the field for Troon in July as one of the highest-ranked non-exempt players.