Even though he hit his second shot at the Dunbar Club's final hole over a wall, he managed to shoot a 70 for a two-day qualifying score of 137 that gave him one of the 24 positions in the field that had been up for grabs on four area courses.
"I feel terrible," he said. "It was a sad finish after a poor start. At 18, I was trying to hack out of the rough with a wedge after slipping on the tee and the ball came out fast, went 100 yards and out of bounds over a wall.
"I've never seen a ball come out like that one did. It cost me. I had to drop in the same thick stuff, but got a better lie."
The qualifiers at Dunbar were led by Patrik Sjoland of Sweden and British amateur Simon Young, who both finished at 134. Two shots behind were former Walker Cup player Luke Donald and Esteban Toledo of Mexico. At 137, Elkington was joined by Ian Garbutt of England and Mattias Eliasson of Sweden.
The qualifying group at Gullane No. 1 included two players from Sweden -- Fredrik Andersson and Adam Mednick --- along with James Kingston of South Africa. They set an 11-under-par total of 131. Next came Australian John Senden and Scotland's Raymond Russell at 133. Four players who tied at 134 were forced to play off for the two final places. Gary Emerson of England and Richard Green of Australia survived at the expense of Jon Levitt of the United States and Neil Cheetham of England.
There was also a playoff for the last places at North Berwick, where Scotland's Scott Henderson grabbed the final spot with a 133.
The British Open begins Thursday at Muirfield, where Tiger Woods will try to win his third major championship of the year.