Graeme’s Storm-y ride at Wales Open

Graeme Storm chips onto the 18th green during day four of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor
Graeme Storm chips onto the 18th green during day four of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor

RYDER Cup venue, the Celtic Manor Resort, will always have a special place in the heart of European golf.

And Graeme Storm is unlikely to forget the place in a hurry after an eventful weekend at the Newport course.

Storm experienced a real rollercoaster ride at the IPS Handa Wales Open at the weekend when he finished 69th on 297 (13 over par).

The 34-year-old suffered one of the worst rounds of his career on Thursday with an 80 at the demanding course and looked certain to be heading for an early exit.

However, he roared back with a four-under-par 67 to make the cut on Friday by the skin of his teeth.

But disaster struck, again, in round three when he carded his second 80 of the PGA European Tour event, the worst score of the day.

Just like Thursday, he scored a quintuple bogey, this time at the 14th, as well as a double bogey and five other dropped shots.

It is therefore to his great credit that he bounced back in style with a one-onder-par 70 yesterday.

After starting the day at the bottom of the field, he moved up five spots to finish in 69th.

Only 12 of the 74 players bettered Storm’s score yesterday, the Hartlepool golfer sinking four birdies and taking three bogeys.

His fine effort is made the more remarkable by the fact that he bogeyed two of the first three holes to go out to 16 over par.

Storm responded quickly and decisively to the dropped strokes at one and three by getting a three at the par four fourth.

After the turn, he birdied the 11th and 15th to get his final round back under par.

He bogeyed the 16th to go back to level par but he ended on a high note with a birdie at the 18th – a hole where he racked up a quintuple bogey 10 on Thursday.

His 70 was a fighting finish for Storm, who will look for good rounds at the Nordea Masters in Sweden this weekend.

Yesterday’s action finished on a controversial note when contender Ross Fisher was fined for slow play and penalised one stroke,

The Englishman was just one off the lead when he was told on the 15th tee about the penalty.

Less than a month after Tiger Woods called for more action against slow play the European Tour have shown they mean business.

Fisher finished joint sixth two behind winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and in his rush to get away – at least he did that quickly – commented only: “I don’t think it’s justice, but there you go”.

It took Fisher, Jaidee and joint runner-up Joost Luiten more than five hours to play their last round and they finished two holes behind the group in front.

They were 39 minutes over the scheduled time, but Fisher was singled out for punishment because of what happened at the 11th and 14th holes, long after they had been told to speed up.

First the 31-year-old took 57 seconds to play a shot and then he took 55 seconds over a putt.

“The allotted time is 40 seconds,” said Tour chief referee John Paramor. “Unfortunately he was maybe not aware of when the watch starts and how much time he has. I have on occasions tried to assist him with providing video evidence of him playing in the past.”