Scott Gregory drew breath after qualifying for the US Open and revealed: It’s the proudest I’ve felt since turning professional.
The Corhampton Golf Club ace finished tied-fifth with a score of eight-under-par at a qualifier at Walton Heath on Monday to book his place in the second major of the year.
Fourteen spots at Shinnecock Hills, New York, were up for grabs. The tournament starts of Thursday, June 14.
Gregory finished above the likes of former two-time Open champion Padrig Harrington and Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood.
It means the Waterlooville talent will play in the US Open for a second successive year.
Twelve months ago he received an invitation after winning the 2016 British Amateur Championship.
Gregory hadn’t been in rich form heading into Monday’s competition.
And his achievement was made more remarkable as a wrist injury suffered the day before in practice put his participation in doubt.
The 23-year-old toasted his achievement and felt it was his best tee-to-green performance of his career.
He said: ‘I’m over the moon to qualify. One of my biggest goals is to play in a major each year from now until I get exempt from all of them.
‘To get the job done when I needed to feels amazing, especially when my current form hasn’t been great.
‘I feel like it was my best tee-to-green performance and then my course management was great.
‘It was the best and proudest I’ve felt since turning professional. It’s been a real rollercoaster lately, so it feels great.
‘Playing Walton Heath on the Sunday helped. But the best help was having my caddie, Chris Carr, on the bag.
‘It was our first outing together. I sought his help because of my recent performance and course management issues.
‘The main issue was my wrist flaring up while playing on Sunday. I couldn’t move it much on Sunday night so I wasn’t sure how it was going to be on Monday.’
Gregory carded a five-under-par 67 on the new course in his first round.
He then shot a three-under-par 69 on the old circuit to finish tied-fifth.
Gregory admitted it’s a weight off his shoulders after a disappointing maiden year as a professional so far.
‘I knew I had a chance on the ninth after back-to-back birdies,’ he added.
‘The 13th was the turning point. I knew I needed a good finish and then made birdies on 13, 15 and 16. I then knew I just needed two pars to have a great chance.
‘It’s lifted a weight off my shoulders as I have underperformed so far this year.’