Stephen Gallacher pulled into the closing straight of the final round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open suddenly in a race for something, but a packed field ahead of him.
The Scot already had many positives from the week, something of a breakthrough for him after a tough run of form. But a spot at Carnoustie as one of three qualifiers within the top ten started to become a possibility when he birdied 10 and 12, and really came alive when he added two more birdies to reach 14-under.
However a bogey at 17 stalled him, and he ended up just outside the top 10 and missing the Open this year.
“It’s the Open Championship, and they have one every year,” he said philosophically. “Unless you’re qualified before (through the Race to Dubai) it’s always going to be tough, you’ve got just the four chances to finish in the top ten. That’s a pretty tough thing to do.
“Getting in the Open might have made a nice wee Brucie Bonus but I’m happy that I played as well as I’ve done in quite a while, because I’d been struggling a little.”
Russell Knox’s fine run of form came to an abrupt end almost immediately on the first hole, a drive into thick rough up the left, short of the green in three, and a three-putt costing him a double bogey six straight off the bat.
He didn’t manage a birdie until the 14th, by which time his chance of back-to-back wins had vanished in Brandon Stone’s wake. A tie for 30th was not much consolation as he headed up to Carnoustie.
Connor Syme’s chances of making the Open field had pretty much vanished after his third round 72 but the rookie Scot, 23 this week, finished with a real flourish.
After a tough front nine into the wind he stormed down the final stretch for five birdies in the last six holes, another indication after his 62 on Friday that the Drumoig player has a knack of scoring streaks even in the best company.
The 67 left him tied for 33rd at eight-under will also help his Race to Dubai position, moving him up from 125th back to near the qualifying positions to retain playing rights for 2019.
“30 on the back nine on Sunday is a great finish to a great week,” he said. “It’s been fantastic to play at home with so much support from my friends and all my family here.
“It’s been a huge confidence boost for me and the Race to Dubai points on the board is a step I the right direction, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Jamie McLeary finished on four-under after picking up two shots on the back nine, with Duncan Stewart on the same number after a second successive 71.