Tom Lewis on day two of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity (Getty Images)
England's Tom Lewis, who created history in his only previous appearance, today put himself in pole position to secure a return to The Open Championship next month.
Lewis burst onto the scene with an opening 65 at Royal St George's in 2011, the lowest score by an amateur in Open history giving him a share of the lead.
The 22 year old went on to finish 30th and win the silver medal as leading amateur before turning professional and winning the Portugal Masters in just his third event in the paid ranks.
Lewis struggled to reproduce that form in 2012 and failed to qualify for The Open at Lytham, but today carded a first round of 66 in the 36-hole qualifying event at Sunningdale.
The former Walker Cup star carded six birdies and two bogeys over the Old Course to finish four under par, one shot ahead of Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin, Sweden's Magnus Carlsson and Spain's Alejandro Cañizares, who came through qualifying 12 months ago.
England's Graeme Storm and French duo Romain Wattel and Gregory Bourdy were a shot further back as 79 players battled for one of the nine places available at Muirfield.
Among those was France's Thomas Levet, who finished runner-up to Ernie Els the last time The Open was staged at Muirfield in 2002.
was part of a four-man, four-hole play-off
with Els, Steve Elkington and Stuart Appleby before eventually losing out to Els on the first hole of sudden death.
He bogeyed the last two holes to card a round of 70 on the Old Course, while Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley returned a 71 and his predecessor José María Olazábal and former US Open champion Michael Campbell both shot 72.