The haves and the have nots, eh?  While those in the upper echelons of professional golf enjoy the kind of lavish indulgences that used to be the reserve of insane Roman emperors, life at the lower end of the game’s food chain can be about as glamorous as a night in a wheelie bin.

Chasing the golfing golden carrot can be an expensive, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking trial of mind-mangling futility. What ifs here, if onlys there, near misses, bad breaks and ones that got away everywhere?  It can be a sair auld fecht.

Golfers, though, are a hardy bunch. And you never know when it will be your week. Or even your day. For the dreamers, the rank-and-file, the journeymen, the has-beens or the never-have-beens, Monday qualifying for a PGA Tour event still lures them in with that promise of potentially life-changing opportunity and reward.

All you need to do is blast one of the best rounds of your career in a nail-nibbling, 18-hole shoot-out that’s as cut-throat as Sweeney Todd’s salon and Bob’s your uncle.

For Scotsman, Callum McNeill, the PGA Tour dream was finally realised at the start of the week when he topped the standings in a Monday qualifier for the $9.1 million Texas Children’s Houston Open.

The 30-year-old, who is originally from Edinburgh but now resides in the Lone Star state, fired a six-under 66 at the Westwood Golf Club in Houston to grab one of just four tee-times that were on offer for the main event.

If you want to understand a little bit about what it all meant to McNeill, then have a keek at the brief clip of him on the PGA Tour’s website mulling over the magnitude of the moment. The levee was about to break on a flood of tears, but he held it together.

“It’s hard,” he said with a gulp as his eyes welled up and he reflected on the general trials and tribulations of those operating in the margins of the professional scene.

"You never know how many more chances you're going to get. There are no guarantees.” At a time when money, greed, debate, division and entitlement has left many asking if golf has lost its soul, the magic of a Monday qualifier remains good for the spirits.

McNeill has been chipping away at the coalface for so long, his wedge is just about covered in a thin layer of soot. Today, though, he’ll get the reward for his labours when he takes to the tee for a PGA Tour debut in his adopted home state.

The grind has been worth it. McNeill, who had a spell working at The Renaissance Club near Gullane, had been an assistant pro at The Clubs at Houston Oaks but his desire to be a touring player never left him.

Financing a full-time playing career, however, can’t be achieved with a quick rummage down the back of the clubhouse couch. Step forward Hal Sutton, the former US Ryder Cup captain and major winner, who took McNeill under his wing, nurtured the Scot’s game and helped him source some much-needed sponsorship.

“Hal briefly worked at the club I worked at in Houston, we got on really well and he offered to mentor me,” said McNeill. “Hal said that if I wanted to go for it (playing), it had to be a full-time job. At the time, I was working to pay the rent and trying to play.

“I had a conditional status on the Latin American Tour, managed to raise some sponsorship and went full time. I've worked at Houston Oaks for eight years and a lot of people here have helped me, so without them I wouldn't be able to do this.

“I’ve just been grinding. It’s really expensive doing this. But I know I’m capable, I’m good enough, I believe in myself. Hopefully I can find the means to keep it going.”

The Monday qualifier was something of a family affair as McNeill’s cousin, Cameron, acted as caddie while over in the US on holiday with his wife and daughter.

He was due to fly back before the actual tournament. “I might have to change my flight now so I think I’ll be putting it on the credit card and staying for the duration,” said Cameron, who will watch on from the sidelines.

As for McNeill? Well, he’s set to take flight in the first class of the PGA Tour.