The clock is ticking towards the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush. For a host of Scots not in the field for the final men’s major of the season, the tick-tocking is getting louder and louder, like that big timpiece on an episode of Countdown.

This week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance is the final opportunity to plunder a prized spot with he domestic showpiece offering Portrush places to the leading three players in the top-10 who are not already exempt.

The time for a last throw of the dice in the last chance saloon is now. And if one or more of the tartan lads manages to toss a double six, the next problem they’ll have is finding a billet for the week in jam-packed Portrush. They can always join the Scottish golf writers on the ferry and sleep in the communal pool car?

There are five Scots currently in the Portrush line-up, one more than the four in 2006 which was the lowest ever representation of home players in Open Championship history. Let’s have a look at who’s in and who’s out before the scramble begins at The Renaissance.

IN

Russell Knox

HeraldScotland:

By virtue of his top 30 finish on the European Tour’s order of merit last year, which was aided by his thrilling Irish Open win, Knox was already assured of his Open slot.

Paul Lawrie

The 1999 champion will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his famous Carnoustie triumph...fitness permitting. Lawrie, who had to withdraw from last year’s Open due to injury, still has another decade of free passes as a past champion. Once you hit 60, that’s it.

Robert MacIntyre 

HeraldScotland:

The left-hander has sparkled like the Oban promenade on a summer’s day during his rookie season and Argyll’s finest earned a major debut by being one of the top five players not already exempt in the leading 20 on the European Tour rankings at a cut-off point last month.

Connor Syme

The young Fifer played in the Open at Birkdale two years ago as an amateur. The official starter ushered Syme on to the tee as ‘Connor Sim’ so let’s hope he’s done his homework this time. Syme, a winner on the Challenge Tour this season, came through last week’s final qualifier at Fairmont St Andrews.

Sam Locke

HeraldScotland:

The Aberdonian seems to save his best for Open qualifying. A year ago, he came through it as an amateur and went on to win the silver medal at Carnoustie. Here in 2019, after a tough rookie season as a pro, he earned another crack at the game’s most cherished major with another successful qualifying campaign. Twenty years ago his mentor, Paul Lawrie, also came through final qualifying and went on to win the Open. We can but dream eh?

OUT

There are a host of Scots with plenty Open experience currently peering on from the outside and hoping to elbow, bite and gouge their way into the Portrush field. Well, not literally but you get the idea.

HeraldScotland:

Stephen Gallacher has played in eight Opens but none since 2015. Richie Ramsay has seven Open outings on his cv while Marc Warren (four), Scott Jamieson (four), David Drysdale (two) and Grant Forrest (two) are all desperate to enjoy another major moment. David Law (pictured), a winner on the European Tour earlier in the campaign, and his fellow rookie on the circuit, Liam Johnston, are both playing in Scotland and will not have given up hope of conjuring a late qualifying flourish. Time is running out … but there’s still time.