AT the halfway stage of the golfing calendar, it is hard to argue with Graeme Storm’s assertion that he has never been in better shape at this juncture.
The 34-year-old is currently enjoying a two-week break from the European Tour having just recorded his best finish of the season to date, a seventh-placed return at the Spanish Open which, on reflection, should have been higher.
But Storm has returned to Hartlepool in positive mood, relieved that he has recovered from an early-season wobble to reinforce his reputation as one of the tour’s most consistent performers.
Consistency, though, is often a byword for middling – but, of late, Storm has been anything but.
Indeed, he last month led the Sicilian Open and has flirted with the higher plains of leaderboards in the majority of his recent events.
Next up is the prestigious PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday.
And, as Storm told SportMail, he has never felt in better nick going into the summer schedule.
“I could not be in better shape,” he insisted, “I feel great about myself right now.
“Everything is going in the right direction and I’m up to 66th in the Tour rankings.
“My aim at the start of the season was to get inside the top 60, so it’s nice to be there or thereabouts at this time of the year.”
It was back in January that Storm, before leaving for Abu Dhabi and his first event of the year, told us that he had enlisted the help of a psychologist in a bid to beat the mental demons which were plaguing his rounds – most notably during his second-round collapse in last year’s Open.
Then, having missed the cut following a disastrous final-hole, he scythed, “I could have snapped every club in my bag - I didn’t want to see them ever again”.
But gone is that personal torment.
“I just feel calmer and more at ease with myself on the course now,” he said.
“That’s down to a lot of things – I’ve done a lot of hard work with my coach, the psychology I’ve been doing and my new caddie, Julian Phillips, has been excellent.
“But I’m definitely reaping the benefits of the psychology work.
“I’m starting to smile a bit more and I’m believing that the chances are there for me when I’m out on the course.
“I’m not getting as angry as I used to.
“I still get a little nervous sometimes because I haven’t been up near the top of the leaderboards for a while, but it’s nice seeing my name up there more regularly.”
The challenge now, then, is not just to get there, but stay there.