British Masters golf: Hartlepool’s Graeme Storm in contention at Close House

Leader Tyrrell Hatton in action at the British Masters at Close House Golf Club,
Leader Tyrrell Hatton in action at the British Masters at Close House Golf Club,

Graeme Storm loves a Masters.

Equal third at the Portugal Masters last weekend, Storm has swapped the Algarve for beautiful Northumberland and is in contention again.

I can’t see the winning score being any better than 20 under par, but it will be close to it

GRAEME STORM

After three early birdies, heavy rain put a dampener on Storm’s charge up the leaderboard in round two of the British Masters – but the Hartlepool golfer remains happy with his final score of 67.

Yesterday’s round, following on from an opening knock of 65, put him on a total of 132 and eight under par – four shots off leader Tyrrell Hatton and one behind a clutch of stars on nine under, including Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

Seventh-placed Storm told SportMail he is pleased with his score in the wet conditions at Close House, saying he hopes to press home his good form and aim for a winning target which “will be around 20 under par”.

He said: “I got off to good start (with birdies on his third, fourth and fifth holes) but it’s hard to play in waterproofs and I was having to club up as the rain meant the ball was not travelling as far.

“However, I made some good par saves, although I was a little bit disappointed not to sink the eagle putt (on the sixth - his 15th) after a great second shot.”

Storm was on hand to offer advice when the ball of his playing partner, Haotong Li, landed in the water on the par three fifth hole (his 14th).

Recalling how Li’s mother became an internet sensation, when she went into the water at the French Open to recover her son’s discarded putter, the Poolie quipped “do you want me to call your mother?”.

It brought a chuckle from the smiling Chinese golfer.

A 5.45am start from his Hartlepool home meant no repeat of yesterday’s drama when he was caught in the traffic with 18,000 fans descending on Close House, eight miles north west of Newcastle, just off the A69, near Wylam.

He said: “There was no way I would be held up in traffic setting off at that time!”

He continued: “I’m well-placed for the weekend at four behind.

“I’ll need to get off to a quick start, but I’m looking forward to a good weekend.

“I can’t see the winning score being any better than 20 under par, but it will be close to it, and that’s within reach.”

Starting on the 10th hole, Storm was quickly into his stride as he birdied the 412-yard, par four 12th and the 540-yard, par five 13th and the 443-yard, par four 14th.

Unfortunately, Storm bogeyed the 221-yard, par three 18th as he reached the turn on two under and seven under for the tournament.

Storm was not finished and got a four at the 497-yard sixth to finish on three under par and eight under overall.