Graeme Storm finishes fourth at Masters, as Paul Dunne holds off Rory McIlroy

Graeme Storm in action today.
Graeme Storm in action today.

Graeme Storm completed a strong challenge at the British Masters to finish in joint fourth position at Close House.

The Hartlepool star pocketed £150,000 after another excellent display in a fine season.

The title went to Irishman Paul Dunne, who held off a challenge from Rory Mcilroy to win by three shots on 20 under par.

Storm finished on 14 under, but said he was disappointed wth some aspects of his final round.

He said: “Paul got away quickly and although I played well today I did not capitalise on my chances, my putting wasn’t quite there and I did not chip tha well.”

Bogeying the two par threes - the eigth and tenth - drained his momentum, although he did immediately hit back with birdies on the ninth and 11th.

However, he added: “Today’s round has capped off a good week overall an cements my position for the last few events of the season.

Storm will next week play in what he says is one of his favourite weeks - in the Dunhill Links in Scotland before competing in the remaining events in the Race To Dubai.

Storm praised Lee Westwood for his efforts in bringing the Masters to theregion and says he would like to see more such events in the North East.

“It’s been fantastic for the North East and to see so many people come along,” he said.

“I think the attendances have been the best ever for this event.

“It was also great to see so many Poolies in the crowd and to get so much encouragement from them, and all the spectators.

“It would be great to get many more of these tournaments in the region, including my own home course at Rockliffe Hall.”

Dunne produced a stunning final round to hold off McIlroy and claim his first European Tour title. He fired seven birdies and an eagle in a closing 61.

And the 24-year-old sealed victory in style by chipping in on the 18th to finish three shots clear of McIlroy, whose 63 was the lowest score of an injury-plagued season which he will bring to an early, self-imposed end next week.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who began the day with a one-shot lead, finished third on 16 under with Storm, David Lingmerth and Florian Fritsch on 14 under.

The win was worth £500,000 to Dunne, lifting him into the world’s top 100 for the first time.

“It feels great,” Dunne said. “It’s nice to finally put the demon off my back and get my first win.

“I feel like I’ve been up there a few times this year and never got to put the foot down on Sunday so I woke up this morning determined to really try to win, rather than have someone hand it to me.

“I had a two-shot lead in Morocco and Edoardo finished birdie, eagle so I was just waiting for the leaderboard to show Rory having a hole-in-one on the last or something.”

McIlroy was always playing catch-up despite a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth and his chance of a first win of the year looked to have gone when he missed good chances on the ninth and 10th and bogeyed the next.

However, the four-time major winner refused to throw in the towel and fired five birdies in the next six holes to close within a single shot, but a lengthy birdie attempt on the last was never on line.

That left Dunne needing to par the final two holes for victory but he birdied the 17th and chipped in for another on the last, a fitting end to a week which saw record crowds of 60,180 in attendance.

“It was just nice to have a chance to win a golf tournament and the more chances I have like that the better; I’m more mentally engaged and switched on,” McIlroy said.

“Shooting 64, 63 over the weekend I thought would have had a chance, but that shows how good Paul played. It’s unbelievable to shoot 61 to win his first tour event and I’m happy for him as well. He works hard on his game so it’s very well deserved.

“I don’t feel like I could have done much more but some weeks your best isn’t quite good enough.”

McIlroy will contest the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his father Gerry before taking a three-month break to work on his game and regain full fitness following a rib injury.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “My dad rang me a couple of days ago and said he was pleased I’d got my game into shape for him.”