The Kirkhill ace forms part of a 288-strong international field for the unpaid game's biggest event which rewards the eventual winner with tee-times for July's Open as well as next year's Masters and US Open.
Shields has an impressive track record in the matchplay format and was a beaten finalist in the Scottish Boys' Championship in 2008 and 2009 as well as the 2011 South African Open.
The 21-year-old was also declared a joint winner of the South African Northern Amateur Open earlier this season when the final was abandoned due to bad weather.
Shields will be joined in the field this week by Balmore's Fraser McKenna, a two-time winner on the Scottish circuit this season and runner-up in the 2009 British Boys' Championship.
Drumpellier's Steven Rennie and Eamon Bradley of Mount Ellen also compete, while the local posse is bolstered by Kilmacolm's former Scottish Mid-Amateur champ Matthew Clark.
The six-day championship was teeing-off today with a 36-hole strokeplay qualifying phase. The top 64 and ties will progress to the matchplay stages beginning on Wednesday.
lSouth Africa's Darren Fichardt survived a rough final round to clinch his third European Tour title as he won the St Omer open by three shots from Gary Lockerbie.
As high winds in Lumbres pushed the scores up once again, Fichardt closed with a two-over-par 73 as a lead that at one stage stood at eight shots almost blew away.