European Tour winner gives young golfers shot at glory in Graeme Storm Junior Open

Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm pictured coaching Dyke House Sports & Techology Golf Academy students
Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm pictured coaching Dyke House Sports & Techology Golf Academy students
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Graeme Storm will always hold a special place in Hartlepool sporting history.

The 37-year-old has already achieved much in golf but is now leaving a legacy after launching the Graeme Storm Junior Open.

It is a competition but my main motivation is for young people to come along and enjoy the day and enjoy golf

Graeme Storm

A proud Poolie, the tournament will be staged not just in his home town but on the course where he began playing the game as an 11-year-old under the guidance of his grandad, Bill Truman.

The European Tour star now wants to encourage the next generation, perhaps even discover the next Graeme Storm.

And that would not be a bad thing.

Storm first made his name by winning the British Amateur title in 1999 and the same year helped Great Britain & Ireland to victory against the USA in the Walker Cup - the amateur version of the Ryder Cup – and even holed the winning putt.

The Hartlepool Golf Club member won the 2007 French Open and has competed in all four golf Majors and even led one, the US PGA Championship.

And there is much, much more, including an incredible European Tour great escape last year, which was every bit as dramatic as the one achieved by his beloved Pools in League Two.

He is currently in Tour action in the Qatar Masters but chose today to announce the Graeme Storm Junior Open, which will be played on Thursday, April 7.

The tournament, endorsed by Darren Clarke and Justin Rose, will be for seven to 18-year-olds of both sexes and of any level of experience, no handicap is required.

And it’s fitting it will be on the golf links where Storm played his first competitive round.

“It was a junior competition at Hartlepool and things just went from there,” he told SportMail.“This is an opportunity for the kids to come and play, whether they have a handicap or not.

“It is a competition but my main motivation is for young people to come along and enjoy the day and enjoy golf and see if they like the game.

“Hartlepool is a good course and I’m hoping the weather will be kind too.

“It’s an opportunity to play on a links-style course, which a lot of kids don’t often get the chance to experience.

“It’s a course I grew up on, where I learned the game and have a lot of fond memories of.It’s good for Hartlepool Golf Club and good for the town and good too for Dyke House as the association partner.

“The work I’ve been doing with Dyke House has opened my eyes a little and I’d like to put something back into the game.”

Storm has been working as a coach and mentor for the golf programme at the Sports & Technology College .

The two current pupils, Jack Ainscough and Will Skipp, are both going great guns at the moment with Jack, from Shotton, having represented England U16 last summer

“It’s going well,” said Storm, who was speaking from Doha Golf Club. “There are two boys there making good progress in the game and we’re trying to unearth other talent within the school, there are a couple there with potential.

“Andrew Betts is working with me and he takes them on a Wednesday when I’m out of the country playing.

“We work closely with them every week and help them along their way and do as much as we can with them.

“It’s given me a buzz to see the lads develop and see the potential they have.

“It also keeps me on my toes when I’m out on the course with them, they are very good golfers!

“There is no reason why they can’t become good European Tour players.

“They have all the potential in the world.

“We work hard but they seem to thrive on that.”

Ainscough and Skipp will doubtless be two of the entrants on April 7.

The Junior Open will have three catagories - 7-10, 11-14 and 15-18.

“You never know, out of this a few new talented girls and boys might be unearthed,” said the brainchild of the event. “But the main thing is we want kids to have fun and enjoy golf.”

There will be an entry fee of £10 with the proceeds going to the Finlay Cooper Fund.

l For further information on the Storm Junior Open email graemestormjunioropen@gmail.com.