Richard Clarson has lost count of the number of times he has tried to qualify for the Open Championship and failed.
But the indefatigable Midlander will still head for Merseyside on Monday in positive mood after comfortably making it through to next week's Final Qualifying.
On a day when escaping the threatened electric storm sweeping the country was top of the agenda, good scores were hard to come by at Little Aston.
The course traditionally rated as the toughest test in the Midlands proved as formidable a challenge as ever, with 25 players shooting 80 or more, of which Broadway's Tim Thornley had the worst day with a 19-over-par 91.
But Clarson kept his head at the toughest of the 16 Open Regional Qualifying courses, carving out a oneunder 71 to make it through in joint third out of the 20 qualifiers.
Only three places for the starting line-up for The Open itself at Royal Liverpool on July 20 are up for grabs in the 96-strong field at each of the four Final Qualifying venues, Formby, Wallasey, West Lancashire and Conwy next Monday and Tuesday. But C larson is an eternal optimist.
"I gave this game up for about five years at one time in my career, and it can still be very frustrating" said Clarson, who learned to play at Great Barr, spent ten years on the staff at Beau Desert and is now based at St Thomas's Priory, near Rugeley.
"Your chances are now a lot slimmer than they used to be at Final Qualifying when there were more like 18 places, and I've never even been close before, but you've got to keep having a go.
"I've been playing well lately and I hit the ball quite nicely again today.
"I was set up by birdies at the third and fourth, and although I then dropped two shots at the 11th, I got back to one under with a drive, a five iron and two putts at the long 12th, birdied 14 and then dropped one at the last when I knew I was in. And it doesn't matter where I get drawn to play on Monday. I'm just looking forward to being there."
Leading the field at Little Aston on two-under 70 were Leicestershire amateur Charlie Ford and newly-turned professional Alejandro Canizares, son of Spain's former Ryder Cup hero Jose Maria.
In the same group as Clarson on one under was the Forest of Arden's Darryl Gwilliam along with two Midlands amateurs - Kings Norton's Richard Gurney and Church Stretton's Jonathan Gidney - with Shifnal's Richard Prophet just a shot further back.
Setting the pace at Trentham was The Shropshire's James Busby after a seven-under 65. And three shots adrift was Kevin Hale, one of the seven-man posse of assistant professionals from The Belfry trying their luck.
Hale shot a four-under 68, which left him understandably pleased with his efforts.
"I only missed two greens all day," said the 26-year-old from Wolverhampton, who learned his trade at South Staffs.
"I birdied all the par fives and parred the rest.
"And, if I can get through Final Qualifying I'll be looking for advice from one of my colleagues at The Belfry, Chris Trott, as he used to play at Royal Liverpool."
Hale finished a shot ahead of an interesting group on three-under 69.
Amateurs Craig Shimmons (Patshull Park) and Jared McKnight (Whittington Heath) made it through on the same mark as forgotten Warwickshire golfer Warren Bladon, looking to make it through to Hoylake ten years after he first sprung to prominence with his Amateur Championship win at Turnberry.
Shropshire's former world schoolboy champion Michael Welch, Kenilworth amateur Rory Kirwan and Adam Gray from The Warwickshire all made it through with a 70.
But, of the handful of Midlanders dotted around at the other 14 courses, only The Belfry's David Fulcher made it through.
He shot a level-par 72 at Ashridge to make it into a eight-man play-off, in which he secured his safe passage with a par at the first extra hole.