GRAEME Storm suffered final-hole heartache as he missed the cut at the Irish Open.
Starting the day on three-under par after an impressive opening round, the Hartlepool golf star shot into the top 20 of the leaderboard when he birdied the par-five second, a hole he had eagled 24 hours earlier.
But three bogeys over five holes between seven and 12 saw Storm’s slip below the projected cut line.
A birdie on the par-three 14th restored hope, but he dropped another shot on the next.
However, he sunk a crucial birdie on the par-five 17th to put him back above the projected cut line.
A par would have seen him home on the par-four 18th, but he took five shots and so missed out on the weekend’s play, finishing his tournament on one-under.
France’s Gregory Bourdy leads on 12-under, but Ireland’s Padraig Harrington is just two shots behind.
And Harrington, one of only two home winners of the Irish Open since 1982, has given himself the chance to do it again.
While local heroes Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are all still around for the weekend - for Open champion Clarke it was a first cut made all year - they would all pay a lot for Harrington’s position.
The 40-year-old Dubliner is not exactly oozing confidence yet, however.
“I’m playing a game I’m not familiar with,” he said. “I’m hitting far more fairways and greens than normal and I know I could play better if I trusted it a bit more.
“I’ve shortened my swing significantly and I didn’t really put myself in any trouble. It was as stress-free a 67 as you could get in these conditions.”
Bourdy and second-placed Mark Foster also shot 67, while Foster’s fellow Englishman Paul Waring - playing his first event for over a year following wrist surgery - had a 65 to join Harrington and Italian Lorenzo Gagli (66).
Harrington won the tournament five years ago, won his first major at Carnoustie two months later and the following season added two more.
He would love the same to happen and he does not rule it out.
“I know they are around the corner and they tend to come like buses. When you get one a few more arrive very quickly.”