Simon Dyson carded a final round level-par 70 at Royal St George's to earn the honour of finishing as the top Englishman at The Open.
It earned him a share of ninth place - and an invite back for next year's event at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Dyson's best Open finish also earned the man from York a six-figure pay day.
But he admitted: "The automatic place next year is the huge one for me. It means I can avoid having to go to Sunningdale or regional qualifying."
It was a great result for Dyson, whose previous best Open was finishing tied for 34th at St Andrews in 2005.
Especially as he was expecting to be in Spain on holiday with his wife this week and did not get the call to play until injuries earned him a slot just a week before the Open teed off.
Added to that, he has been nursing a back problem all week.
Dyson's final round at Royal St George's did not begin too well when he dropped shots at the two short holes - the third and the sixth.
But he then eagled the seventh before holing a long putt for a birdie at the eighth.
"That was a bonus after bogeying both the par threes, as was the eagle on seven," he told BBC Sport. "But then I let it slip a bit.
"I hit a poor drive on nine then, from the middle of the fairway at 10, I got hit by a big gust of wind, dropped short and did not get down in two."
From then on, however, Dyson came home in one under, thanks to seven pars and a birdie at the long 14th for a four-round total of two-over 282.
"I played as I had done for the first three days really," said Dyson. "And I'm very pleased with level par.
"And to come out two over after the four hardest days golf I've ever had is great.
"I'm now taking a week off and having that break in Spain but I'll be getting some practice in while I'm there as this week has really got me looking forward to the rest of the season."