Callum Shinkwin has qualified for next week’s Open Championship after his best result on the European Tour, but it was a case of what might have been after he was beaten in a play-off for the Scottish Open title.

The Bushey golfer had the prestigious and lucrative Rolex Series event in his grasp coming to the par five 18th as he led by one shot at Dundonald Links. But having struck his second shot to the left of the green he was unable to get down in three after leaving his putt for the title agonisingly short of the hole.

That meant the Moor Park Golf Club professional went into a play-off with Rafa Cabrera Bello after the pair finished tied for the lead on 13-under-par.

After safely finding the fairway, Shinkwin decided on a bold approach but again missed the green to the left, his ball landing just above a bunker. His Spanish opponent also opted for a wood, but hit a magnificent second shot within very makeable eagle distance. Cabrera Bello duly made birdie, Shinkwin was unable to, leaving him to reflect on what might, and arguably should have been.

Despite not holding on for his biggest career win, the scale of the 24-year-old's result is shown by him rising from 151st to 19th in the Race to Dubai standings and from 405th to 158th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Shinkwin has little time to feel too much disappointment though, as he heads to Royal Birkdale, but he should reflect with pride on his best tournament on the European Tour to date, surpassing his tie for eighth at the same event in 2016.

"It's been a very good week," he said. "I'll be more than happy to finish second but the win was on my mind and it didn't happen.

"Of course I was nervous but to be fair it was nothing like what everyone probably thinks. I hit a great second shot in (on the 72nd hole) and finished in a divot on a downslope of the bunker. I had no shot, really.

"But it's all a learning curve and obviously if you win, you have to have luck on your side. It wasn't there for me."

The Moor Park professional, who missed the cut at last year's Open at Royal Troon after qualifying at the Open de France, had been among the pacesetters for the title following an opening round of 67 and he began the final 18 holes in a three-way tie for the lead on nine-under-par alongside Ian Poulter and Andrew Dodt.

Having played par golf for the opening six holes, Shinkwin hit the accelerator in superb fashion with three consecutive birdie threes from the seventh to the ninth to move to 12-under-par after going out in 33.

The former English Amateur champion, who looked focused and composed despite being in new waters at professional level, picked up his fourth birdie of the round at the par four 13th before adding his next at the par three 15th.

Shinkwin's calm demeanour continued even after pulling his second shot to the left of the green on the par five 18th. But after he was unable to find the green with his first chip, the opportunity of a first European Tour title was to slowly and agonisngly slip away.