Former Scottish Open winner Edoardo Molinari came within a whisker of dropping off the European Tour last year.
The 35-year-old Italian failed to earn enough money to keep his card and was forced to return to qualifying school in a bid to avoid dropping down to the Challenge Tour.
It looked as though Molinari was set to miss out on one of the 27 cards on offer, but birdied four of the last eight holes to make it through with nothing to spare in the Tour School finale in Spain.
He said: “It is over six rounds so if I am playing well then it shouldn’t be too bad.
“I was actually lucky to birdie a few of the final holes and make it.
“I struggled with my game towards the end of last year and the beginning of 2016 but I am now starting to see some improvement.
“I just need to start playing with confidence to bring that into tournaments.”
Molinari’s won both of his European Tour titles in Scotland in 2010 with his Scottish Open success at Loch Lomond quickly followed by victory at the Johnnie Walker championship at Gleneagles.
He hopes a return to the country will help bring out the best in his game.
He added: “I have heard they have made a couple of changes to Castle Stuart. I haven’t seen them yet, but it is a very good links course.
“The last time I played there we didn’t have too much wind so, hopefully, the conditions are trickier this time and it becomes a very good test.”