GRAEME Storm was left frustrated at missing out on his first golf title since 2007.
But joint fifth at the KLM Open in the Netherlands yesterday meant the Hartlepool golfer took a major step towards keeping his PGA European Tour card for 2013.
Storm had led the tournament in Hilversum for the first three rounds but a last day 73 – his worst of the competition – saw him slip from equal first to a share of fifth with Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson.
Another Swede, Peter Hanson, shot a three-under-par 67 to come through to take the £240,000 first prize which Storm had been a leading favourite for.
However, the 34-year-old Poolie had the consolation of collecting a cheque for £51,575, prizemoney which moved him up from 114th in the Tour league table to 84th.
Storm said: “Hopefully, it’s enough to keep my card.”
Had he won at the North Holland course he would have moved into the top 60, which gets a player into the lucrative end-of-season World Tour Championship in Dubai in November.
At least Storm is heading in the right direction again after a disappointing season.
Last weekend In the Swiss Alps, Storm was in contention for three rounds in the Omega European Masters before a poor last round saw him fall to joint 41st.
And in Holland he led by two strokes after the first day and then three by the halfway stage.
Storm did not drop a shot until the 13th hole of his third round and was caught on Saturday evening by Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Scott Jamieson, from Scotland.
At one stage on Saturday he led by five shots, but then dropped shots at 13 and 14.
Sadly, Storm suffered bogeys at the fourth, fifth and ninth yesterday to be overtaken by Hanson and Pablo Larrazábal, from Spain.
A birdie four at the 12th revived the 2007 French Open champion’s hopes but a bogey at the next took him back to nine under par.
And that was the mark he stayed on as he finished his four rounds on 271, five shots behind Hanson, who eagled the last to beat Larrazábal and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (268).
Jamieson finished fourth on his own (269) two strokes ahead of Storm, Stenson and Castaño.
The Hartlepool Golf Club member is due to line up in the BMW Italian Open just outside Turin this Thursday, where he will be looking for another good finish.
SEE Monday’s Mail for full story