Laird had been up against it after a 69 in his first 18 holes but pulled it back in style with a 63 to finish fourth at the end of the day, eight under overall.
Scotland’s highest-ranked player, made his Open Championship debut on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry last year.
The 27-year old said: “It doesn’t get any better than this. My parents live 15 miles away from St Andrews so I will stay there all week. St Andrews: that’s the place I always wanted to play as a kid.”
Leading the qualifiers was Tim Petrovic, who shot rounds of 64 and 65 for an 11 under par 129.
He will now look forward to making his fourth Open Championship appearance, having first played at Muirfield in 2002, again at St Andrews in 2005 and, most recently, in 2008 at Royal Birkdale.
Bo Van Pelt signed for back-to-back, five under par 65s to finish one stroke behind Petrovic on 10 under. The 35-year-old from Indiana will return to The Open Championship for the first time since competing at Royal Liverpool in 2006, his other two appearances coming at Royal Troon in 2004 and at St Andrews in 2005.
DA Points, who led the field after a first round 63, was a further stroke behind Petrovic on a nine-under-par total of 131, comfortably qualifying for his first Open Championship.
The remaining four players that clinched one of the eight Open places available were Tom Pernice Jr, Glen Day, George McNeill and Australia’s Cameron Percy.
Percy defeated Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman on the third play-off hole with a birdie three. All three were battling for the one remaining berth on offer.
Davis Love III’s streak of 23 consecutive starts at The Open dating back to 1987 is in danger as he missed out at qualifying. There are, however, three routes available through which Love could still qualify.
Englishman Brian Davis missed out on one of the eight places, however, despite following his initial 73 with a 68 to finish one over in a share of 42nd.
Others who failed to qualify included Davis Love III, Andres Romero and Boo Weekley.