HIGHLY-rated Scottish amateur golfer Conor Syme defied hugely testing conditions at Gailes Links last Tuesday to seal a place in the Open Championship for the first time.

Play was completed despite early torrential rain forcing greenkeeping staff to clear the water from the course.

In the 36-hole event Drumoig player Syme (21), the former Australian Open champion carded a level-par 71 followed by a superb second round of four-under par 67.

The player, who celebrates his 21st birthday this week will now tee it up at Royal Birkdale from next Thursday. Joining him will be American Julian Siri, who also finished on a four-under par aggregate and Australian Ryan McCarthy, who was two shots further back.

A delighted Syme said afterwards: "It will be amazing to play in The Open at Royal Birkdale. I remember going to my first Open with my dad (at Troon) in 2004 and we were there again in 2005 when Phil Mickelson threw me a golf ball. An old guy tried to get it off me, but I clung on."

Two Ayrshire hopefuls both missed out on qualifying.

Former West Kilbride ace Graham Fox, now playing out of Clydeway, carded three-over par and was tied 16th and Jack Doherty, formerly of North Gailes and now at Rowallan Castle, was eight shots further back.