Graeme Storm makes great start in BMW International

Graeme Storm
Graeme Storm
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GRAEME Storm is desperate for points on golf’s European Tour – and the Hartlepool golfer has made the perfect start to clinching some.

The 36-year-old ended a breathtaking first day of the BMW International just two shots off the lead in Germany.Storm saw his name at the head of the leaderboard for a long part of yesterday at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof after firing a six-under-par 66.

The Hartlepool Golf Club member was overtaken by Danny Willett and Rafa Cabrera-Bello but a share of third place represented a great opening day.

Ex-BMW champion Willett and playing partner Cabrera-Bello both shot eight under rounds of 64 to take a two-stroke lead into today.

Storm, who told SportMail this week of his desire for a good finish in Germany, in a bid to retain his Tour card for 2015 rattled in six birdies.

His first came at the 425-yard second and had to wait until another par four, the 469-yard ninth, for his next.

But his scoring explosion was as easy as two, three, four – the numbers he took at the 11th, 12th, 13th.

Storm holed his birdie putt at the 157-yard 11th and a three followed at the next with the 519-yard par five 13th also shoewing a red figure.

He wasn’t finished and another three followed at the par four 15th as he covered the back nine in only 32 (four under) to sign for a 66.

After being up at the crack of dawn for the opening day, Storm faces the prospect of seeing his name drop down the leaderboard ahead of his 1pm tee-off today at the 10th.

Storm was among a group of seven players on six under.

The others were Alvaro Quiros, Gary Stal, Michael Hoey, Andy Sullivan, Emiliano Grillo and Anders Hansen.

It was an incredible day at the Rhineland venue – a total of 84 players got themselves under par

One of those just in red was German hero Martin Kaymer, though the recently-crowned US Open champion could ‘only’ register a one-under-par 71.

World number two Henrik Stenson struggled with the high pollen count but it did not stop him from being in a tie for 19th on four under par.

After an outward nine of 33 Willett carded five birdies after the turn as he completed his round without dropping a shot, as did Cabrera-Bello.

That gave the pair a two-stroke lead over seven players including Storm, Nuneaton’s Sullivan and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey.

“It was good. It was one of those days when I rolled a few nice ones in,” said Willett, who did not play in Wednesday’s pro-am because of a stiff neck.

“There was a score out there and we both took it.

“You can turn average rounds into good rounds when you hole a few putts and that is what I seemed to be doing.”

Sullivan said an improvement in the mental side of his game was partly due to his round of 66.

“I played some smart golf, which has been lacking in recent performances,” he told European Tour Radio.

“My putting was a lot better and that always helps. I tried to play it to 20 feet and rely on my putting.”

A total of 83 players finished the day under par, including home favourite Martin Kaymer on his first appearance since winning the US Open a fortnight ago.

However, he is way back in a share of 65th after a one-under 71 failed to really give the crowd much to cheer.

Starting at the 10th birdies in two holes were quickly undone by a double bogey at the short 16th and another dropped shot at the 18th took him to the turn in one over.

Three successive birdies immediately got him back to two under but having hit his second into a greenside bunker at the 577-yard seventh he failed to get out of the trap from an awkward lie and bogeyed.

“It was a tough day for me on the greens,” said Kaymer.

“Those greens look good but they are very tough to putt on.”